London County Hall
Belvedere Road, London SE1 7PB
Previewed: 6 October 2017
Opened: 23 October 2017
Booking to: 29 March 2020
Buy tickets:Buy tickets online
Nearest Tube: Waterloo (allow for walk)
Monday no shows
Tuesday at 7.30pm
Wednesday at 7.30pm
Thursday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Friday at 7.30pm
Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sunday at 3.00pm
Runs 2 hours and 15 minutes including one interval
£? to £?
(plus booking fees if applicable)
A major 'site-specific' revival of Agatha Christie's Witness for the Prosecution in London staged in the magnificent surroundings of London County Hall
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, and you of his innocence and escape the hangman's noose.
Lucy Bailey presented Agatha Christie's gripping story of justice, passion and betrayal in a unique courtroom setting at London County Hall. Directed by Lucy Bailey with designs by William Dudley, lighting by Chris Davey and sound by Mic Pool.
Agatha Christie's stage whodunit The Mousetrap is currently playing at London's St Martin's Theatre.
When this production in Ocotber 2017, Dominic Maxwell in the Times commented how "Lucy Bailey's revival succeeds a treat... It proves a thoroughly entertaining rejoinder to anyone who thought the stage whodunnit went out with rationing. It's atmospheric. It's an event. And it's played straight and played well by a large cast with nowhere to hide... you still need to be sympathetic to its conventions and go with some fairground-ride plot twists towards the end. Yet if it's tosh, it's terrific tosh: the setting, the playing, the plotting keep you guessing happily throughout." Michael Billington in the Guardian said that, "if Christie's play survives best, it is because it is being imaginatively staged by Lucy Bailey in the chamber of London's County Hall... Agatha Christie's play is easily her most ingenious... Convention says that TV has now appropriated this kind of Christie mystery but, when staged as cleverly as this, her plays can still work with a live audience." Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times wrote: "'Welcome to the Old Bailey' say the guards as you climb the stone steps of London's County Hall... director Lucy Bailey seizes on the potential of this august location with relish, turning in a production that is scarcely subtle but mightily enjoyable... and Bailey's site-specific staging adds an extra twist... roll with it and it is delightfully entertaining - rather aptly, a guilty pleasure." Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard praised how "Lucy Bailey's production relishes the conventions of courtroom drama, not least the emphasis on ritual. The disused council chamber at County Hall proves an atmospheric setting... But there's a queasy pleasure in the way it celebrates deception, and the performances are enjoyable." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph explained that, "although derided as the last word in fuddy-duddyness, Christie retains a capacity to entertain, amuse and, crucially, unsettle... It's not the perfect murder-mystery - but thanks to fiendishly canny producing, the place as much as the melodramatic play's the thing. Though I imagine some would wish me hanged for crimes of incorrect language, I'd suggest that the old girl has dunnit again." Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail described how "County Hall's high-domed Council Chamber, with its marble plaques, noble columns and semi-circle of members' seating, has been turned into the courthouse for an enthralling revival of this 1953 play... done here with almost complete authenticity... great setting, memorable staging, pacy acting. The queen of cunning has been brilliantly served."
The original cast, from 6 October 2017 through to 25 March 2018, featured Jack Mcmullen as 'Leonard Vole', Catherine Steadman as 'Romaine Vole', Patrick Godfrey as 'Mr Justice Wainwright', David Yelland as 'Sir Wilfrid Robarts QC' and Philip Franks as 'Mr Myers QC' with Richard Attlee, Elliot Balchin, Brig Bennett, Alexandra Guelff, Miranda Horn, Jon House, Jules Melvin, Roger Ringrose, Hywel Simons and Alex Stedman.
"The star of this production of Agatha Christie's second-most famous play - The Mousetrap is still running - is the novelty venue. It's staged in County Hall, over the river from the Houses of Parliament. You sit in leather bench seats polished by the bottoms of generations of councillors in a marble pillared, polygonal chamber of great splendour and pomp. It's the perfect substitute for the Old Bailey in this 1953 courtroom drama... Lucy Bailey directs this top-notch hokum with the sound of sawing violins, courtroom gasps, echoing calls from the court ushers and scary lighting. It gives a fresh theatricality to the more conventional 'I put it to you' grandstanding of the barristers and the procedural flummery of the court... Being by Agatha Christie, the play depends on a totally daft twist you don't see coming. But it's never once guilty of being boring. Verdict? A proper old-fashioned hit that really takes you to court." The Mail on Sunday
"Witness For The Prosecution is given thrilling new life in Lucy Bailey's site-specific staging. The Council Chamber in which Ken Livingstone once held court is now Court Number One at the Old Bailey, where unemployed Leonard Vole stands trial for the murder of wealthy widow Emily French. When his German wife Romaine testifies against him, Vole's prospects look grim, but his barrister, Sir Wilfrid Robarts, has an ace up his sleeve. Bailey makes excellent use of the Chamber's central arena, in which the rival barristers trade quips and jibes as they examine witnesses, and the Chairman's seat, from which the Judge presides over proceedings with the perfect mixture of geniality and disdain." The Sunday Express
"If you are going to revive Agatha Christie's courtroom drama, it is a brilliant idea to stage it in the chamber of London's old County Hall, where the setting creates a sombre atmosphere for a 1950s murder trial in which young Leonard Vole will hang if found guilty. Whether the play, with its stilted dialogue, improbable twists and implausible characters, is worth reviving is another matter. Exploring the idea that an English jury will always prefer a Brit to an unreliable foreigner, Lucy Bailey's production has its moments... The verdict? The play is twaddle, m'lud." The Sunday Times
Witness for the Prosecution in London at County Hall previewed from 6 October 2017 and opened on 23 October 2017