Joe McFadden stars alongside Susie Blake and Sophie Ward in a new production of Agatha Christie classic The Mirror Crack’d this week at York Theatre Royal (October 4-8) and Theatr Clwyd in North Wales (October 17-22), among other venues.
Susie Blake plays Miss Marple, Sophie Ward is Mariana Gregg and Joe McFadden plays Jason Rudd in the Christie mystery, adapted by Rachel Wagstaff and set in the 1960s.
In the village of St Mary Mead, a new housing estate and the arrival of a rich American film star stirs up curiosity, fear and suspicion. Miss Marple, confined to a chair after an accident, is wondering if life has passed her by. But when there’s a vicious murder she must unravel a web of lies, tragedy and danger.
It's the first appearance in a Christie story for Joe - who made his theatre debut at Theatr Clwyd years ago.
"It's absolutely my first Christie," says the former Holby City actor and 2017 Strictly Come Dancing winner. "My mother was a massive mystery fan. She loved all the detective shows and I was brought up watching them, so I have a real fondness for them. While you’re working it out, you’re being entertained."
Susie Blake previously played Margaret Rutherford – who famously played Miss Marple in movies – in Murder, Margaret and Me, a play about Rutherford's relationship with Christie. But the experience hasn't been translated into Blake's current role.
"Our director (director and actor Philip Franks) told me 'Susie, we’ve got to find your interpretation’. Going back to the books helps. At the moment I’m re-reading Pocketful of Rye and there are some very good descriptions of her in there. I go back to that, rather than watching other people playing her, to find out what makes her tick. She’s fascinated by people, she’s obsessed with finding out the truth and she will go on nitpicking until she gets it."
Sophie Ward has appeared in the BBC‘s A Very British Scandal, BBC/HBO Max’s Troubled Blood – an adaptation of JK Rowling’s hugely popular novel, and This Sceptred Isle opposite Kenneth Branagh’s Boris Johnson. She has appeared in Christie stories before – in a TV version of A Caribbean Mystery and in Go Back for Murder, a Christie play.
In The Mirror Crack‘d she plays Hollywood star Marina Gregg a character based on movie star Gene Tierney. In the play Marina is entering a new chapter in her life, more peaceful.
"She’s doing films she likes and finding some respite, buying this big house in an English country village. It’s a new start for her."