REVIEW: Murder, Margaret and Me, York Theatre Royal

Susie Blake as Margaret Rutherford

Susie Blake as Margaret Rutherford

It’s wonderful to see relatively new playwrights given a chance to shine.

York Theatre Royal artistic director Damian Cruden, is always keen to nurture new talent, and has given playwright Philip Meeks the opportunity to expand his one-woman show into a three-hander comic thriller, Murder, Margaret and Me.

It imagines a friendship between national treasure Margaret Rutherford, and Queen of Crime writer, Agatha Christie. The result is a great story, full of intrigue and mystery, laced with some delightfully funny scenes and lines; watch out for the “wayward walnut” line particularly, as Margaret served Agatha afternoon tea – a classic comedy moment.

The play has been included in a year- long programme of work put together by an all-female panel “which aims to redress the imbalance in women’s roles in both theatrical work and the industry as a whole”.

Susie Blake was stunningly convincing in the part of the iconic and eccentric actress Margaret Rutherford, both physically and vocally, as was Nichola McAuliffe playing Agatha Christie, with their delivery and sense of timing spot on.

Andrina Carroll was very much a mischievous Puck-like character, playing the Spinster, bringing the two ladies together, and acting as narrator.

Philip Meeks’ sparkling script was sensitive, as well as witty – a life time fan of both Agatha Christie and Margaret Rutherford, his affection and respect for both ladies came across well.

It was an inspired idea to include stagehands as part of the drama, and particularly apt as the set, Dawn Allsopp, was the film set of Margaret Rutherford’s house. Their constant presence helped to keep up the pace of the play too.

We discover Margaret Rutherford’s secret, thanks to Agatha’s sleuthing, but I’m not going to reveal it, you’ll have to go to see the play to find out.

It runs until Saturday March 4.

BOX OFFICE 01904 623568

www.yorktheatreroyal.co.uk