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Review: The Hollow

A classic rendition of the murder mystery where nothing is ever as it seems.


After its debut in Cambridge 72 years ago, the CUADC have revived Agatha Christie’s classic who-dunnit, “The Hollow”, at the ADC. Full of the hilarious misdirection and self-incrimination we’ve all come to expect from a Christie mystery, the audience were visibly on the edge of their seats as we were led down one rabbit hole after another.

The Angkatells [Image Credits: Paul Ashley]

The play follows the complex family politics of the Angkatells, whose shared heritage is represented by the elusive, yet clearly desirable, Ainswick estate. When glamorous movie star Veronica Craye (Erin Tan) crashes a party hosted by the eccentric Lady Angkattell (Betty Blythe) and her charming husband Sir Henry  (Noah Chamberlain), the “beautiful performance” of familial serenity is abruptly disrupted and an elaborate web of deceit begins to unwind. 

Erin Tan as glamorous Veronica Craye [Image Credits: Paul Ashley]

Murder strikes, ghosts from the past come back to haunt the guests at The Hollow and as the exploits of the unfortunate Dr Christow (Isaac Allen) come to light, suddenly no one can be trusted. Everyone seems to have a motive, from flustered wife, Gerda Christow (Catherine Strong), and misused mistress, Henrietta Angkatell (Amy Brian) to the ever-loyal butler Gudgeon (Jake Leigh). 

Inadvertent witnesses to the crime, the audience is inescapably implicated, and can do nothing but watch as tough-talking, scrupulous Inspector Colquhoun (Ryan Keys) and his less-than-serious sidekick Sergeant Penny (Yoel Mulugheta) get down to business. Amid moments of dramatic revelation and comedic relief, we are constantly reminded to beware of the conflict between truth and fiction. Nothing is ever as it seems! 

Who can be trusted? [Image Credits: Paul Ashley]

The characters embodied the classic archetypes of the murder mystery with Christie’s trademark wit and contradiction. At times, some of the cast seemed overly rigid in their portrayals of these types but this sense of awkwardness was quickly dispelled with humour and the immersive stage design. Just as the Angkatells struggle to escape their past, it’s easy for us to get caught up in the convoluted facade of 1940s domesticity. 

Tackling timeless themes of love, revenge and money, “The Hollow” offers the perfect escape for anyone. End your evening with a bang, and have a hand in solving a murder in this exciting rendition of Agatha Christie’s classic mystery.

4/5

The Hollow is showing at the ADC Theatre at 19:45 from the 14th – 18th of February with a matinee at 14:30 on the 18th of February. Book your tickets here.