The Mirror Crack'd ......The New Theatre - Review
*Ad- press tickets, all opinions are 100% honest and my own
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack'd from side to side;
'The curse is come upon me,' cried
The Lady of Shalott.
Myself and Fab Daughter were lucky enough to be invited to the Press Night of Rachel Wagstaffs adaptation of Agatha Christie's 'The Mirror Crack'd' at The New Theatre tonight.
My only knowledge of this story being the 1980 feature film starring Angela Lansbury as Miss Marple and co- starring Elizabeth Taylor and, my namesake,Kim Novak.
The presence of Miss Marple asleep in her chair onstage before the beginning of the performance was both intrigiuging and somewhat unnerving - kudos to Susie Blake for her stillness and stamina , I even checked to see it was her and not a mannequin!
For those that are unaware of the story here goes:
Film Star Marina Gregg( Suzanna Hamilton) has moved into the village and at a cocktail party in her honour Heather Leigh( Katherine Manners), a local villager, is poisoned.....enter a recuperating Miss Marple(Susie Blake)and Cheif Inspector Dermot Craddock ( Simon Shepherd)
The story is told in moments of flashbacks which were cleverly staged with lighting,sound and movement that was delightful to watch.I loved the use of shadows in the backdrop.
At times we were reminded of a world where class divide was prominent ( the horror of the new housing estate! ) and women had a defined role and were expected to dress a certain way (''I'll never get use to women in trousers!'').With Mothers Day looming it is interesting to hear and observe Christies varied examples of Mothering throughout the play .In the Second Act there was an heated exchange between Marina and Giuseppe Renzo
(Huw Paramenter) that involved profanity that I felt was jarring and out of place within the play.I also felt some of the acting was ...just that- acting , with little emotion or empathy but then I do like to lose myself in anything I watch .....It was therefore with some shock that upon researching this play I became aware of the following......
###SPOILER ALERT ###
''The real-life tragedy of the birth of the first child of American actress Gene Tierney and her husband Oleg Cassini appears to be the basis of one plot point for the movie star character,but not the murder plot, though Christie never said this about her novel. Tierney described her event in her autobiography years after Christie wrote this novel; Tierney's story had been well publicised for years before this novel was written.The official website of Agatha Christie, suggests that Gene Tierney's experience influenced Christie in developing the movie star character in this novel.Tierney had not adopted children before the birth of her first child and Tierney bore a healthy daughter five years later, meaning that Christie did not copy Tierney's life in this novel.
In June 1943, while pregnant with her first child, Tierney came down with German measles, contracted during her only appearance at the Hollywood Canteen. Congenital Rubella Syndrome was passed on to the baby. Little Daria was born prematurely, weighing only 3 pounds, 2 ounces, and requiring a total blood transfusion. The infant was deaf, partially blind with cataracts, and severely developmentally disabled. The child ultimately was institutionalised in a psychiatric hospital.
About two years after the child was born, Tierney was approached by a female fan for an autograph at a garden party.The fan revealed that during WWII she had sneaked out of quarantine while sick with German Measles to visit the Hollywood Canteen and meet Tierney.Tierney related that after the woman had recounted her story, she just stared at her silently, then turned and walked away. She wrote, "After that I didn't care whether ever again I was anyone's favourite actress' .''
Gene Tierney with Daria
The Mirror Crackd is showing at The New Theatre till April 6th Book Here