Classic murder mystery still entertains - A Murder Is Announced, Grand Theatre, Blackpool, until Saturday
A winter night, a cosy Victorian theatre and an Agatha Christie whodunnit - what's not to like?
This production contains all the elements of a classic murder mystery and takes the audience back in time to a lost era.
There is the traditional gathering of middle class toffs in a country house, with money the motive for the dastardly deed.
Sarah Thomas is excellent as a bungling Miss Marple, who manages to out-smart both the police and the perpetrator.
The Middle Ground Theatre Company also injects plenty of humour into the drama, which helps make up for some of the stereotypes such as the crazy Ukrainian maid.
Set in Chipping Cleghorn, residents are astonished to read of an upcoming murder with the time and place announced in the local paper (Gazette of course).
Kazia Pelka, whose credits include Heartbeat, holds the stage as hostess Letitia Blacklock accompanied by a strong cast with plenty of stage and screen experience.
The lights go out and a shot is fired, after which the secrets start to unravel and the mystery unfolds.
There are plenty of red herrings and each character slowly emerges as being not all they seem.
If you are tired of over-complicated TV police dramas, these are stories where all the loose ends are tied up at the end when the killer is unmasked.
Agatha Christie plots may be a throwback to a different time and lack the sophistication of Scandi-style crime shows, but they still have the ability to surprise and entertain.