As far back as I can remember, my sisters have been avid fans of Agatha Christie. My bookcase has a fair few of her novels that are well loved and I’m not ashamed to admit that I love me a bit of Poirot/Miss Marple. So late last year when I had heard Witness For The Prosecution was coming to London I knew I had to get hold of tickets. Plus I really really really want to be called for Jury Duty so this was right up my street!
The show is one of it’s kind because rather than a theatre, the whole thing takes place in the council chambers of the former County Hall, in Waterloo. It’s a brilliant use of space and comes complete with Jury Box and public gallery.
I was lucky enough to be given centre front row seats and as fantastic as it was, I can wholeheartedly say you would enjoy the show from any seat, including the public galleries. For absolute best views, try and be seated on the left of the stage so you can see everything going on.
The story follows Leonard Vole, a young, good-looking and mild-mannered man who is arrested for the murder of Emily French, a wealthy older woman.
As expected, it follows the same pattern of the older woman looking for romance and the young, manipulative man out to get her money. Apparently unaware that Mr Vole was a married man; Miss French makes him her heir to a rather large fortune when she passes. His lawyers then try desperately to get him acquitted, but trouble comes in the shape of his wife, who seemingly turns against him and appears as a witness for the prosecution.
Throughout the course of the play he must convince the jury of his innocence and escape the death penalty.
Is Mr Vole really is a murderer, or whether his wife has a secret motive to lie and give damaging testimony?
Both the play’s website and the Agatha Christie website describe this as an immersive experience and it’s certainly that. Although there is no real audience participation, aside from a tiny part if you have the seat next to the judge, it’s a fantastic experience.
You’ll spend the full two hours thinking you’ve worked it out – “No jury will believe a foreigner” – only for the twist at the end to come all too quickly. And then and just when you think you know who did it the plot twists again.
I won’t be saying any more than that. What I will add is that the performances were flawless. I was completely engrossed throughout the whole show and really impressed with how they carried out set changes on such a limited stage.
The play has been so well received that it has been extended for the second time until March 2019! Book your tickets here.