When you think of the murder mystery detective genre, one name always comes to mind. Agatha Christie is undoubtedly the Queen of Crime, and by that stead, the Queen of the Twist Ending.

Towards Zero at the Mill at Sonning completes Brian Blessed's directorial quartet of Christie plays. This new production of one of Christie's finest novels follows in the footsteps of the giants (The Mousetrap: Witness for the Prosecution) that came before it. It appears that Blessed's friendship with Christie herself has ensured that this play lives up to all expectations.

The production is acted beautifully with numerous comedic references. There were some excellent 'throw-away' lines to create a light-hearted atmosphere that audiences have come to appreciate with Christie productions. The use of Brian Blessed as the BBC radio news presenter was a lovely touch.

The players each created very well rounded characters used perfectly to throw the audience off the path, keeping the 'whodunnit' moment alive until the very end. Hildegard Neil as Lady Tressilian was a joy to watch. Creating a stunning performance in a short space of time is incredibly impressive. What is more impressive is the absolute skill that was delivered to create an incredibly believable character through-out.

A mention must also go to Noel White as Matthew Treves. This character practically pulls the plot along and helps to keep it going at a pace to keep the audience at the edge of their seats. White achieves this beautifully.

The production as a whole was fantastically produced. The piece almost had a feel of a television production in front of a live studio audience, using some beautifully atmospheric scene change music paired with stunning lighting.

It must also be mentioned that the production is not the only draw for this experience. Every ticket includes a two-course meal at The Mill in Sonning itself, and the food is spectacular. Catering for all dietary needs in a stunning venue ties everything up in a neat little bow and presents a superbly enjoyable experience from beginning to end.


It runs until at The Mill at Sonning until 28 September

Review: Joshua Thompson