Review: The Mirror Crack’d (Touring)

Thursday 6th October 2022 at York Theatre Royal.


Agatha Christie’s The Mirror Crack’d is one of the best whodunnits going if you ask me. This production – a new adaptation by Rachel Wagstaff – does a fantastic job of weaving and steadily unravelling threads without ever feeling contrived or letting too much slip too early. Yes, some of the twists and reveals can be twigged a scene or three beforehand if you’re on your game, but the biggest twist is well-played both structurally and in performance by a talented cast who handle high drama beautifully.

When an American actress becomes the target of a vicious plot, the great Miss Marple is quick to get herself entrenched in the case – whether her attention is welcome or not… Susie Blake is a fantastic Miss Marple, full of subtleties and gentle dry humour. Even when debilitated by injury, there’s a fire and a purpose to this uber-observant sleuth that endears us to her very quickly – long before she really engages the heart strings with her own story. Marple’s counterpart arrives in the shape of Chief Inspector Craddock, played skilfully by Oliver Boot, who allows for a mildly risible characterisation but courts humour enough to avoid making such an officious starched collar truly unlikeable.

Sophie Ward’s Marina Gregg, whose life is endangered in the opening moments, is the wounded and wronged actress around whom all the mystery and peril swirls. Ward’s is a performance which delivers on a complex character arc with great humanity while Joe McFadden is the film director husband, playing the classic go-to suspect role with an effective impatient defiance.

There are many wonderful performances across the cast, but standouts include Mara Allen’s half rattled, half assertive Cherry who provides snatches of comedy and drama equally well. Also Veronica Roberts’ Dolly Bantry, who is both a warmly humorous and reassuring presence but also a sharp eye with the ability to stop an overbearing man in his tracks. The sense of sincere friendship borne of longevity between Roberts and Blake in particular is lovely to watch.

Director Philip Franks’ approach achieves style, clarity and a steady stream of drama. The play perfectly utilises cross-cutting of scenes: Miss Marple’s enquiries from the safety of her living room chair cue characters speeding on from the wings to play out the scenes being described by the interviewee; standard flashbacks in TV and film maybe, but incredibly difficult to do well on stage, particularly when characters are required to freeze at intervals to allow Miss Marple to pose further questions.

Such scuttling about by a relatively large cast might sound like an onerous watch but this production is all about precision and pace, and maintains engagement with ease. That said, the production doesn’t quite manage the special effects as well as it could, which is a shame considering the otherwise slick and sophisticated approach. Adrian Linford’s set design provides some nice versatility through a large construct centre stage which pivots to provide a backdrop of mirrors or windows, offering up some great visuals of the suspect line-up as options shift across the play.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable watch which does justice to the reputation of the famous master of the whodunnit. With such a strong cast and a stylish approach to the telling of the tale, I’d say The Mirror Crack’d actually outshines the iconic titan, The Mousetrap – yes, really, so poison me for this blasphemy if you must! Catch this one if you can.

The Original Theatre Company’s The Mirror Crack’d plays York Theatre Royal until October 8th 2022 and you can find tickets here. The production then continues its tour until March 2023 and you can find more information and tickets here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Website Powered by

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: