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REVIEW: Murder, Margaret and Me by Progress Theatre

By Raine Johnson

Murder, Margaret and Me is a fourth wall-breaking play full of comedy and wit.

The play is, in turns, emotional and funny with the focus on the characters and their internal turmoils which are explored throughout the play.

The play opens with Agatha Christie finding out that her precious protagonist Miss Marple is being played by Margaret Rutherford, who she feels falls short of her standards. Throughout the play the two of them tiptoe around each other as Christie tries to discover the truth about Rutherford and whether the truth is even worth discovering in the first place.

Though there is no real main character the action is driven along by Miss Marple, played mischievously by Dorothy Gilbert, and how she plays the part in the lives of Margaret and Agatha. Miss Marple also gives the play its fourth wall-breaking quality as she has constant quips at the expense of the other characters and sometimes even the audience.

The main body of the play, however, is about the relationship between Christie, played by Paula Montie, and Rutherford, played by Liz Carroll. Montie plays Christie as sympathetic and haughty. Carroll, however, plays Rutherford as a very lighthearted character with a dark past, never wanting to talk about anything too serious. The relationship between the two women is tested throughout the play as they slowly become friends. Their rapport is lively and dynamic and leaves the audience laughing for the duration of the play.

As always with Progress Theatre the quality of the performances is always exemplary, the acting is funny, and the plot is expertly moved along by the subtle but effective lighting worked by Liz Paulo. A green light is used to show when a character is having a flashback as opposed to when they’re talking to the audience or each other, this keeps the audience immersed in the play. The costumes, brought to life by Fiona McNeil, were period appropriate and well thought out, perfectly communicating the nature of the characters without a word being said.

Murder, Margaret and Me is a delightfully funny play full of intrigue and mystery, definitely worth going to see if you enjoy crime fiction or just want an entertaining night out.

The play is at Progress Theatre, Reading until Saturday (27) at 7.45pm.. Tickets are £12, £10 for concessions. To book visit www.progresstheatre.co.uk or call the Box Office on 0118 384 2169.

Phil Creighton

Editor of The Wokingham Paper, and has worked in local journalism for more than 20 years including the Wokingham Times, Bracknell Standard and Reading Evening Post. He's also written for computer magazines, The Baptist Times and, to his delight and probably not yours, interviewed several Doctor Whos.

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