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By Sajani Ratnayake

‘And Then There Were None’!

Fans of murder mysteries will no doubt recall this brilliant crime story  from the Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie. The twists and thrills of this book will be brought to life by Cold Theatre 7, from May 10 to 12 at the Lionel Wendt.

It is a nostalgic experience for director Kevin Cruze, for this is a play that he has staged before and is immensely familiar with. After 11 years, he is bringing back this intriguing mystery with a well-seasoned cast of talented actors. This time around, he is able to explore more themes and the inclusion of original music adds a new dimension to the play.

Back on familiar ground: Director Kevin Cruze returns with the murder mystery ‘And Then There Were None’ played by Cold Theatre 7’s seasoned cast. Pic by Akila Jayawardena

The classic ‘whodunnit’ story unfolds around eight strangers who are lured to an unfamiliar island, along with two house aides. They are accused of murder by a mysterious voice. The host and hostess who invited them to the island are nowhere to be found. As one by one, people are found murdered, the rest must hunt for the killer. The suspense builds, as in such a diverse group, each haunted by their own demons, the search for the truth is a long and winding road.

Niren Ranasinghe who will be taking on the neurotic personality of Dr. Edward Armstrong with his peculiar quirks and insecurities, says, he is looking to portraying him ‘as natural as possible’ and not caricaturing the character.

Melanie Bibile will play the religious fanatic Emily Brent. The role is a new challenge for her, she says, and she is looking forward to doing the pious, complex personality justice. It’s a wonderful experience, says the actress who enjoys playing different types of characters.

Dulika Jayamanne is the enigmatic General Mackenzie, a very diverse character who shows different emotions in different situations. This is a departure from Dulika’s usual roles but he is relishing the challenge of tapping into the raw emotion, the character demands.

Abbasali Rozais as the calculating Lawrence Wargrave urges the audience to ‘forget their worries’ and enjoy the play. There are many surprises that you will not expect, he assures.

Nostalgic experience: Kevin Cruze

Amesh de Silva plays William Henry Blore, who he describes as ‘trying very hard to get the job done’, a completely contrasting role from his previous performance in August:Osage County. His character contributes to ‘gelling things together’. But with this strong and experienced cast, he is confident, he can get it right.

Michelle Herft will be playing the energetic and inscrutable Vera Claython. In a murder mystery play, you never know who someone truly is. “Every character faces a dilemma between appearance and reality, for they all present different facades of themselves to the world,” says Michelle giving more insights into the nature of the Christie thriller.

The sarcastic Philip Lombard is played by Wasaam Ismail, a character with the ‘urge to rile people up’. But his quality of being able to stay calm in the face of chaos, unlike everyone else, is his strong point.

The young, self-centred Anthony Marston will be played by Milinda Randeniya for whom this is his first big stage and an opportunity to play an intense role. He would love the audience to also ‘appreciate the chemistry between everyone’, he says.

Tharusha Kumarasinghe is the lively Thomas Rodgers and it’s the first serious character he is playing,  the young actor tells us. Throughout the play, the arc of his character allows him to portray different elements to his acting.

Tahsha de Silva will be playing Ethel Rodgers, the perfectionist and anxiety ridden housekeeper. Her character has been interesting to play, as she is also tackling a role where she portrays a much older person.

Every character has an important role to play, adds Kevin, as the actors have to take on the fine lines of accuracy and detail they must portray.  The 10 characters all have 10 completely different stories, and these mature actors bring their own unique abilities to the complex characters that Christie created, he feels.

The audience can prepare to be transported on a thrilling dramatic journey.

 

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