WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION
London County Hall
Currently Booking Until 20th March 2022
Four years after first opening, and following a lengthy suspension due to the pandemic, Lucy Bailey’s bold and thrilling production of Agatha Christie’s great courtroom drama, Witness For The Prosecution, has now resumed performances at London County Hall.
Ingeniously staged within the immersive setting of the former Council Chamber, with the audience seated all around the octagonal chamber, up in the galleries and even in the jury box, Bailey’s production makes superb use of a rich and evocative location that exudes political history at every turn having served as the headquarters of London’s local government for sixty-four years.
Adapted by Christie from her own 1925 short story Traitor’s Hands, and first performed at London’s Winter Garden Theatre (which stood on the site now occupied by the Gillian Lynne Theatre) in October 1953, Witness For The Prosecution has gone on to become one of the author’s best loved plays and has been revived and adapted numerous times over the years, though you’d be hard-pressed to find a stronger production than the one currently running at County Hall.
In the play, young Leonard Vole has been accused of the murder of a wealthy, elderly widow, and the evidence against him seems overwhelming. Enter the esteemed barrister Sir Wilfrid Robarts, Q.C., who believes Vole in innocent and agrees to take on the case following a discussion with Vole and his solicitor Mr. Mayhew.
Christie’s well-crafted mystery then twists and turns with each witness testimony as the gripping tale of justice and betrayal begins to unfold and further evidence mounts against the accused.
Slick direction and strong design work heightens the excitement and theatricality of this immersive staging, and the production is driven by a strong cast including Jonathan Firth as Sir Wilfrid, Teddy Kempner as Mayhew, Joe McNamara as Vole, Emer McDaid as his wife Romaine, and a brilliant Miles Richardson as prosecutor, Mr Myers, Q.C. Clever sound design further absorbs us in the courtroom setting with various effects and audience murmurs fed through speakers in the head rests of the seats.
Witness For The Prosecution is classic Agatha Christie, perfectly staged, and it is fabulous to see audiences flocking to London’s Southbank to see this great production, now in its fourth year. The production has some way to go if it is to match Christie’s other long-running London show, but it is an utterly thrilling piece of theatre, not to be missed, and long may the run continue!
Running Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes (approx.), including one 20-minute interval.
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