by Lorie Lewis Ham
I have been an Agatha Christie fan ever since I was a teenager, so when I saw that Good Company Players were going to be performing the Agatha Christie play Witness For the Prosecution, I couldn’t wait! We were front and center opening weekend for this show that plays at 2nd Space until October 9.
Witness For the Prosecution is a play that Agatha Christie adapted from one of her short stories. It was first performed on stage in 1953, and made into a very successful film in 1957. I am a big fan of the film, but happily it had been so long since I had last seen it that I didn’t remember the ending and was able to enjoy trying to figure it all out along with everyone else.
A young man named Leonard Vole (Alex Vaux) comes to the London offices of Sir Wilfrid Robards, Q.C. (Noel Adams) because he is afraid that he may be accused of murdering a wealthy older woman who he had become friends with. When Vole is indeed arrested for the murder, Robards takes on the case together with a young solicitor named Mr. Mayhew (Chase Stubblefield). While they feel that this charming and kind man is innocent, the circumstantial evidence against him is strong. Their one hope is Vole’s German wife Romaine (Erica Riggs), who agrees to testify. From there things get very complicated with a lot of twists and turns–the kind you would expect from something written by the Queen of Crime Agatha Christie.
Earlier this year I saw Alex Vaux and Chase Stubblefield in An Ideal Husband and really enjoyed their performances, so I was very happy to see them in key roles in Witness For the Prosecution. Both are excellent young actors and I hope to see them in many more shows. Noel Adams was also in An Ideal Husband and did a good job of bringing to life the older defense attorney Robards in this show, taking on an amazing amount of lines. They all did a great job of bringing these characters to life and making you feel like you were indeed watching a trial unfold. Robards and David Ottero (who plays the prosecuting attorney) play well off each other as they battle to win the case. Stubblefield also has a funny bit with his pipe throughout the show. Other bits of comic relief come from Larry Mattox who plays Justice Wainwright–his wit added some fun to the seriousness of a murder trial. Erica Riggs was intense as the wife, and did a great job of playing the many facets of this complicated character.
Director Karan Johnson deserves kudos for putting together all of the many pieces of this show and very complicated story–playing the theme song from ITV’s Poirot before the show and at intermission was a brilliant touch that any Agatha Christie fan will appreciate.
If you love a good mystery do not miss this one! Come out and see if you can figure out who dunnit as the story unfolds–no one writes a mystery like Agatha Christie! Witness For the Prosecution is on stage at 2nd Space Theatre in Fresno until October 9 and info on tickets can be found on their website.
You can find more theatre articles, and other entertainment articles, in our Arts & Entertainment section.