Love From A StrangerNovember 2018
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Boston Playgoers' 90th production, which coincided with a display in Blackfriars about the 90th Anniversary.
Performed Wednesday 7th to Saturday 10th November 2018 at Blackfriars Theatre.
This play has been nominated for Best Play in our region at the NODA Awards 2019.
Cecily Harrington has led a staid and proper existence. After winning a large amount of money in a sweepstake she desperately yearns for a life of adventure. Enter Bruce Lovell, a handsome and charming stranger who sweeps her off her feet. In a whirlwind romance, she recklessly abandons her job, friends and fiancé to settle in the remote and blissful surroundings of a country cottage. However , her her newfound “love from a stranger” is not what it seems and in an astonishingly tense final scene, Cecily discovers the ghastly truth of her new love.
About the Play
Love from a Stranger was originally written in 1924 by Agatha Christie as a short story ‘Philomel Cottage’. It emerged again 10 years later in ‘The Listerdale Mystery’. Christie then rewrote it as a Stage Play, but it wasn’t until a further rewrite by actor ( as he desperately wanted to play the part of Bruce Lovell) Frank Vosper that it took off as a Theatre hit, firstly in the West End in 1936, then on Broadway a year later.
Cecily Harrington - Andrea Townshend
Bruce Lovell - Rob Callaby
Nigel Lawrence - Matthew Barnes
Mavis Wilson - Melissa Poulson
Dr Gribble - Carl Reece
Hodgson - Jon Molson
Ethel - Rachel Rowett
Louise Garrard - Maddie Collier
Director - Jo Warrick
Producer - Lucy Taylor
Set Design & Construction - Paul Gibson, Megan Rogers & Jo Warrick
Lighting & Sounds - Paul Gibson
Props - Liz Worsley & Lucy Taylor
Costume - Jo Warrick, Katherine Kibby & Liz Worsley
Programme & Poster - Julian Warrick
Stage Manager - Megan Rogers
Crew - Lucy Taylor & Megan Rogers
Review by Peter Breach (NODA)
Agatha Christie originally presented this work as a short story and later rewrote it as a stage play but it wasn’t until a further rewrite by actor Frank Vosper, who was very keen to play the principal part of Bruce Lovell, that it achieved recognition as a successful play for the stage. Unlike many of Christie’s works, this is definitely not a “who done it”, more a “what’s going to happen next, and when!”
Cecily (Andrea Townshend) has put her flat up for rent; her friend Mavis (Melissa Poulson) and Aunt Lulu (Mandie Collier) begin packing. During this activity Aunt Lulu regales Mavis with some of her eccentric opinions - this early introduction of humour serves to relax the audience. On Cecily’s arrival Aunt Lulu leaves to obtain refreshments.
Cecily has won a considerable sum of money in a sweepstake and intends to use some of it to change her boring life style and seek excitement in pastures new; this includes postponing her long standing engagement to Nigel (Matthew Barnes), her devoted fiancé, who has been working abroad. What a wonderful coincidence then that handsome Bruce Lovell (Rob Callaby), speaking with an American accent, should call in response to her advertisement and enquire about renting the flat. This polite and charming individual, who has travelled widely and is an interesting conversationalist, sweeps Cecily off her feet. Within a matter of hours they are engaged. Her long-time former fiancé has been ditched.
At the commencement of Act Two, Cecily and Bruce are married and living in a remote isolated cottage that has been purchased with some of Cecily’s winnings as Bruce claimed the bank has yet to transfer his account. There has been a “cooling off” of Bruce’s attitude towards Cecily who has been permitted to employ Hodgson (Jon Molson), an aged gardener and his daughter Ethel (Rachel Rowett) to help in the house. Meanwhile Bruce further restricts Cecily’s movements and contacts, and since there is no telephone she cannot speak to her dear friend Mavis. Bruce has been complaining of feeling unwell recently and received a visit from Doctor Gribble. As it appears Bruce’s condition is further deteriorating, Doctor Gribble attends again and following the doctor’s departure the play comes to a shocking end.
This was a well-cast polished performance of a psychological thriller by a group of very talented actors who demonstrated convincing characterisation under the skilled direction of Jo Warrick. Congratulations on delivering such a splendid team effort.