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The Mirror Crack'd - Northampton Review

Agatha Christie's supersleuth Miss Marple remains as popular as ever and Rachel Wagstaff's production of the 1962 novel provides an evening of intriguing murder mystery that keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout.

Susie Blake as Miss Marple in The Mirror Crack'd. Photo by Ali Wright

Rachel Wagstaff’s adaption of Christie’s novel is tremendous in delivery a punchy, well paced piece of drama. The premise is fairly simple in that at the party of a Hollywood star and her film director boyfriend that one of the guests has been poisoned to death. 

The action picks up in the aftermath of the events as we first meet Miss Marple in her cottage. She meets with her friend Dolly Bantry who used to own and live in Gossington Hall where the murder has occurred. Also enters is Chief Inspector Craddock, nephew of Marple and assigned to the case.

What unravels from here is an interesting piece where motives are questioned and naturally at one time everyone is a suspect. I won’t spoil anything further with the plot left for you to discover. 

Philip Franks directs the production with clarity. It’s a clear vision that is executed extremely well. The use of flashbacks intertwining with police interviews or conversations gives the audience an insight in to events that may or may not have happened as you see. As expected Christie and Wagstaff plot a few red herrings along the way.

Joe McFadden as Jason Rudd and Sophie Ward as Marina Gregg in The Mirror Crack'd. Photo by Ali Wright.

Susie Blake takes on the mantle of Miss Marple, something she self describes as a role she wanted to play since she was 10. A dream come true it may be and Blake relishes the role and is superb throughout. She carries the journey of the character’s journey well especially as she becomes more present in the murder investigation.

Sophie Ward makes for a fantastic Marina Gregg. The Hollywood star who returns to set after a lengthy illness and the loss of her brain damaged child. She is matched well with Joe McFadden as husband Jason Rudd. They certainly make an interesting pairing. Ward particularly impresses with the complexity of the role.

Oliver Boot has a great time as Chief Inspector Craddock, frequently reminding characters that he has been promoted. He adds a bit of humour as this slightly bumbling inspector. Though he is far from incompetent. 

Chrystine Symone does a great job with Lola Brewster. The co-star of the film that stars two of Henry VIII’s wives. Mara Allen as Cherry Baker is a looming presence often in the background but always with a key involvement. 

There’s great supporting performances with all characters having layers to their lives that all play out with skill and believability. Though my only concern is nobody ever seems really unnerved that there’s a murder on the loose!

Clever design by Adrian Linford uses a large set piece that revolves to take us from Marple’s cottage, Gossington Hall or the film studios. It’s clever in its simplicity and works brilliantly. Max Pappenheim’s sound design adds layers or tension and atmosphere that drives the action forwards.

The Mirror Crack’d serves up a deliciously interesting murder mystery with a clear plot and once the motives click things start to unravel. It’s expertly staged and performed. 

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Mirror Crack'd plays at Northampton's Royal Theatre until Saturday 5th November. Tickets are avaliable from The show continues touring with dates booking through until March 2023. Visit for the full tour schedule.

Susie Blake as Miss Marple and Oliver Boot as Chief Inspector Craddock in The Mirror Crack'd. Photo by Ali Wright.

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