The opening performance of Theatre Mill’s largely ambitious; on location performance of Agatha Christie’s ‘Witness for the Prosecution’ was met by huge applause last night.
Held at the York Guildhall Council Chambers, the ornate decoration and traditional layout of the public gallery, docks and jury box gave gravitas to the sense of being part of the jury, in amongst the action of the case.
From the moment you walk into the building you are encompassed by the show, from the welcome given by the policeman on the door, to the mixing in of the foreman of the jury with the audience in the Foyer as you wait to be allowed into the courtroom. Ushered into the chambers by the court clerk, you immediately feel as though you should summon your best behaviour and take the events about to unfold in your stride. The great choice of traditional 1950s swing music adds to the effect and takes you back in time to the years in question.
In line with other Christie works, be prepared for red herrings and twists in the tale. “Every single word drives the narrative and has a meaning”, stated director Samuel Wood during the post opening night discussion with the cast and crew. Every line spoken appears significant and drips with consequence for the characters.
Having only had a mere three weeks to create such a well-polished performance, congratulations must be given to the cast and crew of the production. They have clearly taken the adversity of the location, the difficulties facing the lighting and set design, and the multiple layers of the intriguing murder mystery into their stride, and have created a very enjoyable and intelligent piece of theatre.
For a company that only started last year, Theatre Mill are fast becoming one of the city’s most captivating and inspirational companies. Their use of location and interactivity make their work translatable onto a world stage and in no time these shows tours will become a national treasure.
‘Witness for the Prosecution’ will be showing at the York Guildhall Council Chambers from the 2 to the 20 of April 2014. To enquire about tickets (which we would highly recommend you do) call York Theatre Royal on 01904 623 568, or click on the link below.