Maitland Repertory Theatre presents Agatha Christie thriller

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ESTATE OWNERS: Dimity Eveleens, as Lady Lucy Angkatell, and Robert Comber, who plays Sir Henry Angkatell. Photo: Anne Robinson
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NOVELIST Agatha Christie was forthright about her thrillers. When she adapted The Hollow for the stage, she omitted Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, saying “I had ruined the novel by the introduction of Poirot”.

And, indeed, the theatre version of the story, which is set at a weekend get-together in the title rural estate just outside London, is engagingly lively, with a police inspector and his assistant trying to work out who murdered one of the guests. Virtually all those present are revealed to have possible reasons for slaying the person.

Theatre audiences certainly haven’t missed Poirot. The London premiere season in 1951 ran for 11 months. Christie overall excluded Poirot from four of her stage versions, concerned that many actors turned him into a caricature.

The Hollow is being staged by Maitland Repertory Theatre at its venue from May 2 to 20. Director Steve Ryan has shown his skills with murder mysteries, and, as this is the first Christie play staged at Maitland in almost two decades, the cast members are rehearsing eagerly.

Dimity Eveleens, who plays Lady Lucy Angkatell, the wife of The Hollow owner, is an Agatha Christie fan, and she says those around Lucy see her as “a bit dipsy” because she doesn’t think before she speaks.

At one point, when the police are searching for the gun used for the fatal shooting, one is found underneath the eggs in a basket that she took to the fowl yard. Lady Angkatell, who is adept with a gun, forgot that she had put it there.As audience members will discover, some of her brief observations are very much to the point as the chaos grows.

Her husband, Sir Henry Angkatell (Robert Comber), has a large collection of guns and there is a shooting gallery in The Hollow backyard. Henry’s younger cousin, Henrietta (Annalie Hamilton), a renowned sculptor, turns out to be having an affair with one of the visitors, physician Dr John Cristow (Andrew Wu), unknown to his wife, Gerda (Heidi Bush). Dr Cristow previously had an affair with another guest, Hollywood film star Veronica Craye (Aimee Cavanagh), while yet another Angkatell cousin, Edward, also has his eyes on Henrietta, much to the unhappiness of one more cousin, Midge (Lily Dougherty), who is attracted to him. The story’s other characters are butler Gudgeon (Colin Delaney), housemaid Doris (Glenys Schulz), and police Inspector Colquhoun (Lee Dougherty) and Detective Penny (Aaron Churchill).

The Hollow opens on Wednesday, May 2, at 8pm, with Friday and Saturday 8pm shows from May 4 to 19, and 2pm Sunday shows on May 13 and 20.

Tickets: $22, concession $17.

Bookings: 4931 2800.

AMAZING FEATSNEWCASTLE magician Joel Howlett has taken on the role of a producer and is staging a variety show at Lake Macquarie Performing Arts Centre in Warners Bay on Saturday, May 5, that will feature n circus-style performers who have dazzled audiences around the world with their skills.

The family-friendly show, Amazing!, has performances at 2pm and 7pm, with tickets $15. Contact trybooking苏州夜总会招聘 for bookings. The show’s acts will include a mix of juggling, hula hoop spinning, sleight of hand magic, comedy, audience participation and Las Vegas style stage illusions.

Howlett, who is 28, became a professional magician after finishing high school at age 17. His performance venues have included Disney World in Florida and a Las Vegas night spot. He has also done shows on cruise ships that move swiftly from one scene to another, and that style is being used for Amazing!

Another local cast member is Simon Tarrant, who was trained in rotating hula hoops by Circus Avalon, and, under the performance name Bravissimo, set two world hoop-spinning records last November, first for performing 52 rotations of a hoop on his beard, with a friend holding his chin bush, then for catching and spinning 18 hula hoops on his body, without lifting his feet from the floor.

The other performers, based in Sydney, are Jay Scott Berry, who has shown in 40 countries the amazing magic he can do with his hands, and award-winning female juggler Llynda Nairn.

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