Let’s Go To The Theatre

Witness for the Prosecution makes an excellent, funny, and thought-provoking case, and the cast play their parts fervently from opening to astounding climactic revelation.

Based on Agatha Christie’s short tale, Traitor’s Hands, who adapted her novel as a stage play, this staging at Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre, under direction of Alan Swerdlow, features Graham Hopkins as Sir Wilfrid Robarts, the lawyer hired by the charismatic Brett Krüger’s Leonard Vole, as a wealthy woman’s murder suspect. Sadly, Leonard’s alibi is dependent on his cruel wife Romaine’s (Sharon Spiegel Wagner) testimony, who suddenly decides to testify against him in court after discovering a legal loophole, launching a series of puzzling revelations and impediments.

Set in the turbulent 1950s in postwar London in the chambers of Sir Wilfred Robarts Q.C., Christie achieves her dual objectives. After a thrilling murder trial at the Old Bailey, she abruptly reveals the truth that the law had uncovered, leading to a shocking and realistic conclusion.

With her chilly portrayal in the dock, Sharon Spiegel Wagner painted a vivid picture of anger suddenly releasing itself from intolerable inhibitions. Brett Krüger delivered great support job as the accused Leonard Vole.

Witness For The Prosecution gleefully offers all the benefits of a litigating attorney, a naïve tempered, distraught accused, a chaotic dock breakout and cross-examinations of witnesses, with the audience as witnesses to the events.

The jury’s verdict is enthralling, following a noirish story with ponytail-twisting plot twists—and an enormous and ingenious climax. 

In the lead part, Sharon Spiegel Wagner was composed and unflappable. The audience needs to use their judgements to determine if she’s a wheeling butterfly or a serpent in the grass.

From 4 July until 10 August, you can catch it at The Theatre On The Bay in Cape Town.

Reviewed by Dirk Lombard Fourie.

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