Witness For The Prosecution

Author: Agatha Christie
Genre: Courtroom Drama
Time Period: The Present
Format: 3 Acts
Characters: 26 Male, 4 Female
Setting/Sets: 2 Sets, 2 Scenes in Act 3
Reviewer: C. T. Cawley 
4 / 4 Stars

Background and Summary

This is Agatha Christie’s crowning theatrical achievement. First presented on October 28, 1953, at the Winter Garden Theater, London. It was Adapted by Agatha Christie from her short story of the same name. Upon its move to be presented in the United States, December 16, 1954, it won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award as the year’s best foreign play, an achievement never up to that time awarded to a mystery.

Plot

The plot is of the trial of Leonard Vole, accused of murdering an old woman (reputedly for money). His wife, Romaine, is the central witness for the prosecution. She testifies regarding his testimony of where he was when the murder was committed, contradicting his story. Subsequent events call her back into the witness stand to answer new evidence that belies her original testimony. Consequently, Vole is acquitted. Subsequent to the trial it comes out that the entire course of her courtroom appearance was planned to get Vole acquitted, even though he was actually guilty. He then turns on Romaine in favor of another woman. This is an ingenious double twist to the plot that delivers a genuine, unexpected surprise to the audience.

Set

The set for when the trial goes on is an elaborate replication of the Old Bailyey courthouse in London. In addition, a second set represents the law offices of Sir Wilfrid, Q.C. Act I occurs at the law offices, as does Act III, Scene 1.

MPAA Rating

The set for when the trial goes on is an elaborate replication of the Old Bailyey courthouse in London. In addition, a second set represents the law offices of Sir Wilfrid, Q.C. Act I occurs at the law offices, as does Act III, Scene 1.

Restrictions

There are two restrictions that could make this play difficult for CRG to produce: the elaborate set required to represent the courtroom and the great number of characters to be cast in order to represent the operations of the court during trial.

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