Showing at The Curve until 12 May, Agatha Christie and Frank Vosper’s ‘Love from a Stranger’ is a brilliant thriller, with a twist you will not expect. Set in 1958, the play begins in a flat in Bayswater. It is in this flat that Cecily Harrington (played by Helen Bradbury) meets Bruce Lovell (Sam Frenchum); a handsome American stranger and potential tenant.
Bruce enters Cecily’s life just as she is having reservations about her upcoming nuptials. He represents everything she feels she is lacking in her own life – excitement, adventure and passion. Lovell sweeps her off her feet in a whirlwind romance.
Within weeks they are married and move to a remote cottage to start their new lives together. Did I mention that Cecily had recently come into a huge amount of money? £25,000, in fact. Won in a sweepstake. This may not seem relevant but it transpires that she paid a lot more for the house than she had thought, whilst her husband’s money is conveniently ‘tied up.’ This is one of many little clues that suggest that Bruce Lovell is not a trustworthy man. In fact, his intentions may be much darker and, dare I say it, murderous than poor Cecily is aware of.
As the audience, we are not fooled of Bruce’s intentions. There are numerous worrying signs and there is even an ominous ‘9pm’ marked in his calendar for the night before they are due to go on their honeymoon (to a destination that has been undecided). It is almost comparable to watching a horror movie on TV, when you want to scream at the victim to warn her. Of course, in a theatre, this isn’t exactly appropriate behaviour. This feeling of wanting to warn clueless Cecily builds suspense until there is insurmountable tension in the air.
The charming man she first met morphes into a pathological liar as he reveals his true colours.
The actors playing Cecily and Bruce did a fantastic job at keeping the audience on the edge of their seat in this suspenseful show. They showcased their talent, especially when it came to Bruce’s character revealing that he is no Prince Charming. Equally as good was Cecily’s reaction and her next steps. You will have to see the show to find out how she deals with being locked in a country cottage with a psychopath.
Although the play is set in the 1950’s, the tale of love and lies, infatuation and deceit can easily have been set in today’s world and is definitely well worth a watch. With a fantastic cast and gripping plot, ‘Love from a Stranger’ is highly entertaining.