Reviewed by Helen Warwick
Last night The Lowry was host to Frank Vosper’s adaptation of Love from A Stranger, originally by Agatha Christie, one of the most successful female playwrights of all time. Director Lucy Bailey, alongside designers Mike Britton, Oliver Fenwick (lighting) and Richard Hammarton (Sound and composer) do an incredible job in transforming the stage, allowing the play to be based across two main houses. A moving stage, and clever use of lighting and eerie music builds atmosphere and creates the perfect backdrop to this impressive performance.
The play begins with Cecily Harrington (played by Helen Bradbury) admitting uncertainty about her marriage to her long-term fiancé, Michael (Justin Avoth) as he is due to return from working abroad. A charming stranger who goes by the name Bruce Lovell (Sam Frenchum) confirms her doubts. We watch as she quickly becomes encapsulated by his seemingly natural charms. An added element of humour is speckled throughout the play, mainly offered by Aunty Lou Lou (Nicola Sanderson) and Cecily’s friend and flatmate Mavis (Alice Haig). We later meet gardener Hodgson (Gareth Williams) and new housekeeper Ethel (Molly Logan) whose delightful portrayals create a lightness among the building suspense. Dr Gribble, played by Crispin Redman, completes the small but excellently well-rehearsed and performed set of characters.
Watching this thriller unfold live, is gripping with subtle clues throughout leading your mind to wonder to Cecily’s fate. The final twist adds an unexpected element of surprise.
Quick access from the M60 makes The Lowry theatre, situated in Salford Quays. easily accessible, although allow extra time if in rush hour traffic! The best parking is at The Lowry Outlet Mall, handy if you arrive early. Access to the theatre is then easy along the roadside or through the mall. Several further bars, restaurants and cafes are also located within easy walking distance of the theatre. The Lowry theatre and gallery provides an excellent venue for many cultural delights. Several snack bars alongside a bar and restaurant provide plenty of refreshment opportunities. All staff were friendly and helpful, and there were no complaints about the cleanliness of the theatre or surrounding areas.
A skilled performance full of suspense offers a unique and thoroughly enjoyable play experience. Highly recommended!
Tickets cost from £17.50 to £32.50 (booking fees may apply).
Love From A Stranger is at The Lowry in Manchester from 10-14 July 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.thelowry.com or call the box office on 0843 208 6000.
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000