Our weekly round up of this week's biggest new tours, shows and events.
Staged in the unique surroundings of London’s County Hall, Witness for the Prosecution is celebrating its second birthday by extending its run in September 2020.
Directed by Lucy Bailey, the production places audiences directly inside the courtroom, watching the fate of Leonard Vole, accused of murdering a widow to inherit her wealth.
The landmark production of Witness for the Prosecution marks the first new setting of an Agatha Christie play since the 1960s, and has been delighting fans of the playwright’s classic works. More than a quarter of a million people have enjoyed over 815 performances to date, and the play has received nominations for Best Revival at both the 2018 Olivier and WhatsOnStage Awards.
With the production set to welcome new cast members from 17 November 2019, and with booking now available until 13 September 2020, here’s everything you need to know about Witness for the Prosecution.
What is Witness for the Prosecution about?
Based on the short story of the same name by Agatha Christie, Witness for the Prosecution follows the fate of Leonard Vole, arrested for murder of the widowed Emily French. With inconsistent testimony provided by his wife, Romaine, Vole’s innocence or guilt become increasingly interchangeable.
Providing a brilliantly appropriate setting for the courtroom drama, County Hall adds a new dimension to the murderous tale, one that ultimately places the audience at the heart of the action as the truth begins to take shape.
Who stars in Witness for the Prosecution?
Until 17 November 2019, the production stars Lewis Cope as Leonard Vole, Carolin Stoltz as Romaine Vole, Simon Dutton as Sir Wilfred Robarts QC, Giles Taylor as Mr Myers QC, Michael Cochrane as Mr Justice Wainwright, and Tim Frances as Mr Mayhew.
From 17 November 2019, Taz Skylar will take on the role of the accused, Leonard Vole, having perviously appeared in Warheads, Lie Low and The Kill Team.
Alexandra Guelff (Gaslight, Ghosts) will take on the role of Romaine Vole, joined by Jo Stone-Fewings (Trust, Home, I’m Darling) as Sir Wilfrid Robarts.
Kevin McMonagle (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) will star as Mr Myers QC, Jeffery Kissoon (Eastenders) as Mr Justice Wainwright, and Crispin Redman (Law & Order) as Mr Mayhew.
The new cast will be completed by Amelia Annowska, Mark Grindrod, Timothy Harker, George Howard, Jane Lambert, Owen Oakeshott, Tom Shepherd, Vivienne Smith, Craig Talbot and Cathy Walker.
What can audiences expect from Witness for the Prosecution?
Taking over County Hall – which really gives credence to this production’s ingenious staging – Witness for the Prosecution allows audiences to experience all the drama and intensity of a real-life courtroom, as the classic, gripping story of justice, passion and betrayal unfolds in front of you.
Speakers – built in to the seats to once aid curmudgeonly counselors to hear better during meetings – now whisper sound effects and a mood-setting soundtrack to add to the drama: half-forgotten laughter from the past, echoing footsteps, the distant chatter of a busy crowd.
On the stage, two rows of six seats make up the jury box, where paying members of the public become part of the show. One member even becomes foreman, standing up near the closing moments of the play to deliver their verdict against Vole.
There are plenty of plot twists to keep you guessing as to what the truth is, right up to the final moments of the play. This should please even the most seasoned of sleuths in the audience.
This is classic Christie. It’s retro, glamorous, thoroughly British and utterly timeless; what makes it stand out from the crowd though is this magnificent setting.
What are the critics saying?
“Classic Christie. The queen of cunning has been brilliantly served” ★★★★★ – Daily Mail
“A delight. Guilty of being a good night out” ★★★★ – The Arts Deck
“Christie’s courtroom drama in the grand chamber at County Hall entertains, amuses and unsettles” ★★★★ – Daily Telegraph
“Agatha Christie’s ingenious courtroom drama fits perfectly in County Hall” ★★★★ – Guardian
What else do I need to know?
Witness for the Prosecution is now booking until 13 September 2020. The show runs for 2 hours and 15 minutes, including a 20 minute interval.
Witness For The Prosecution is currently booking until 13 September 2020 with tickets available through Ticketmaster.co.uk.