From Feb. 16 to 18, the Community Players of Concord NH will present Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution at Concord City Auditorium. Part of the Community Players’ 96th Season, the famous Christie thriller is the most-performed courtroom drama and recognized as one of her greatest plays. Based on a short story the famous “Queen of Crime” wrote in 1925, the 1953 play covers a sensational murder trial both in the courtroom of London’s “Old Bailey” and behind the scenes in the barrister’s chambers as the action unfolds.
Christie’s plot involves a young man named Leonard Vole, who is charged with the murder of a wealthy older woman with whom he was involved in a questionable relationship. Believing the man to be innocent, barrister Sir Wilfred Robarts takes the case. When it’s revealed that the murder victim recently changed her will leaving her estate to Vole, the public interest escalates and Sir Wilfred questions his own judgment. Vole swears his foreign-born wife will support him in court, but when they learn that Mrs. Vole is still married to a husband living in Berlin, both defendant and lawyer realize their defense may be in jeopardy. Agatha Christie’s fascinating characters and bright (and often witty) dialogue become intense courtroom drama that reaches a thrilling finale which only begins with the jury’s verdict. “Miss Christie has got the audience in her pocket,” wrote the first night London critics, “the accomplished thriller writer has created a well-made, humorous, exciting case.”
Well-known for the 1958 film version with Charles Laughton and Marlene Dietrich, “Witness for the Prosecution” has been presented on stage throughout the world, made twice for television and the 2017 environmental London revival is still playing, six years later; “Guilty of being a great night out.”
The Community Players production, directed by Matt Mutrie and produced by Ron Bryson, features a full cast of 19 actors, including John Conlon (as Sir Wilfred Robarts), Garrison Garron (as Leonard Vole), Emilia Halstead (as Romaine Vole), Chris Connell (Myers), Peter Josephson (Mayhew), Dana Sakos (Inspector Hearne) and Valerie Kehr (as Justice Wainwright). The production is stage managed by Ross Gourvitz, with costumes by Suzanne Potoma, lighting by Ron Bryson and set by Craig Walker. (Please note that due to the dramatic climax of this play, no one will be permitted to exit or re-enter the auditorium during the final 15 minutes of the performance.)
Performances are Friday, Feb. 16 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 17 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. at Concord City Auditorium, 2 Prince St., Concord. Tickets can be purchased at communityplayersofconcord.org. Cost is $20 adults, $18 juniors/seniors. Theatre box office opens 90 minutes prior to each performance. More information can be found by calling 344-4747.