Staged in The Chamber at London’s historic County Hall, Witness for The Prosecution is now in its second year, but the feel throughout the audience as they take to their seats has the hushed anticipation of opening night. The grandeur of the building, the supersized leather seating all helps to create an exciting and authentic atmosphere.
And there’s a suitably dramatic opening, and then we are off, into the world of Agatha Christie’s courtroom drama.
The premise is simple enough; Leonard Vole (Lewis Cope), a good looking, slightly feckless, young married man is accused of murdering an old lady (in her 50s) for her money. He’s adamant he’s innocent, he has his wife Romaine (Carolin Stoltz) as an alibi, but as the sole beneficiary of her will, he’s going to need all the help he can get from his lawyer Sir Wilfred Robarts (Simon Dutton). But then we meet the wife, and she’s everything we didn’t expect, and from then on things start to get more and more complicated.
There are some brilliant performances from Simon Dutton (Sir Wilfred Robarts), Michael Cochrane (Mr Justice Wainwright) and Lewis Cope (Leonard Vole). Each brings their authenticity to their role, and keep the dialogue punchy and compelling. The women’s roles are slightly more problematic, with the exception of the role of Romaine. But they aren’t the focus in this story, it’s very much a man’s world, although there is an argument that the women are the ones who ultimately subvert it.
The staging’s excellent and there’s a slight interactive element as some members of the audience have chosen to play the Jury (though this is more for effect than any real contribution), and overall this production is a lot of fun, the real treat is enjoying Agatha Christie’s world in such a site-specific location.
Review by Roz Wyllie
Leonard Vole is accused of murdering a widow to inherit her wealth. The stakes are high.
Will Leonard survive the shocking witness testimony? Will he be able to convince the jury of his innocence and escape the hangman’s noose?
The cast includes Carolin Stoltz (Shetland, Emmerdale) playing Romaine Vole, Lewis Cope (Billy Elliot) as the accused Leonard Vole, Simon Dutton (The Saint) in the role of Sir Wilfrid Robarts, Giles Taylor (This House, Wolf Hall/ Bring Up The Bodies) playing Mr Myers QC, Michael Cochrane (The Archers) as Mr Justice Wainwright, Tim Frances (The 39 Steps) as Mr Mayhew, with Max Dinnen, Janet Fullerlove, Karlina Grace-Paseda, Jessica Hole, Francesca Knight, Paul Lancaster, Nicholas Osmond, Joe Shire, Michael Weaver and Karl Wilson.
Director Lucy Bailey (Ghosts, Love From A Stranger) thrillingly places the audience in the thick of the action, with some even watching from the jury box, as this gripping tale of justice, passion and betrayal unfolds around them.
Eleanor Lloyd Productions and Rebecca Stafford Productions present
Witness for the Prosecution
By Agatha Christie
Directed by Lucy Bailey
Designed by William Dudley
Lighting Design by Chris Davey
Sound Design by Mic Pool
Casting by Ellie Collyer-Bristow CDG
London’s County Hall
The Chamber, County Hall, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 7PB