A whirlwind romance with a handsome and charming stranger sweeps Cecily Harrington off her feet and she recklessly abandons her old life to settle in the remote and blissful surroundings of a country cottage. However, her newfound love is not all that it seems…
Electric with suspense and with a shocking twist in its tail, this edge-of-your-seat, rarely seen thriller by the UK’s greatest crime writer, Agatha Christie, is rediscovered in a brand new production by Lucy Bailey (Gaslight, Dial M for Murder).
Love from A Stranger is unlike your typical Agatha Christie “whodunit” murder mystery. We don’t witness the obligatory scene where the unwitting victim looks towards an unseen figure and exclaims, “Oh, it’s you”. Or the black-out, followed by a shriek as the maid finds the lifeless body limp on the chaise longue. No, that is replaced with a slick 1950s setting, characters who are lead by their impulses, and a gradual build-up of tension as the story finally reaches its thrilling climax.
Lucy Bailey’s production is brought to life by an extremely impressive and innovative set design. The use of gauze netting and dim lighting is a creative way to separate sections of the stage, but also to signify the unknown layers of the characters. This subtle but effective technique is often paired with atmospheric music, sound effects and a spectacular method used to move parts of the setting itself, which all work together to create the unsettling tone that builds to almost claustrophobic levels nearing the end.
Sam Frenchum’s performance as the leading man, Bruce Lovell, stands out as he displays his excellent range. While he appears a charming and passionate American, he is almost instantly unnerving in such an elusive way that the audience can understand how he woos the main protagonist, Cecily. Helen Bradbury offers a decent portrayal of the leading lady and successfully explores a variety of emotions as she responds to Lovell’s mood-swings.
This new production of Love from A Stranger cleverly creates such an uneasy feeling that will keep you guessing throughout the entire performance, culminating in a finale that will have your heart in your throat!
Review by Kim Ford for Love Books Group
| Booking Information |
Tue 5 to Sat 9 June | King’s Theatre
Evenings 7.30pm | Matinees Wed & Sat 2.30pm
Duration: Approx. 2h20m (incld. 20m interval)