I was asked back to New Theatre * to watch Love from a stranger by Agatha Christie and Frank Vosper based in 1958 in Bayswater, London, the cottage in West Sussex.
Cecily Harrington ( Helen Bradbury, and her friend Mavis Wilson ( Alice Wilson) won shares, they decide to let their flat as with the money Mavis is going traveling and Cecily is getting married to her fiancée of five years Michael, (Justin Avoth) but Cecily is having second thoughts, she doesn’t really want to get married she wants fun and excitement and to have some adventures.
Bruce Lovell ( Sam Frenchum) with his American Canadian accent comes to look at the flat, telling Cecily all about his adventures and stories from around the world, she opens up about breaking it off with her fiancée and wanting to travel with the money she’s won. Whilst showing Bruce around the flat we first see Bruce character when he picks up Cecily underwear, sniffs it and takes a photo. The stage here was cleverly set up, it’s moved! It slid to show more or less of what we needed to see and the lighting changed to more of a low light just to add in the creepiness!
It’s a whirlwind romance and we start part two with them married and living in a remote cottage. Here we meet the gardener, Hodgson and his niece Ethel who’s looking for a job. They agree to employ her even though you can see Bruce isn’t too happy, he doesn’t want any visitors taking away his time alone with Cecily. As she was running off stage doing her first job of employment she hit the prop over! It was quite funny, could see both Helen and Sam trying not to laugh with the audience! Sam saved it with a ‘she’s enthusiastic isn’t she’, to the gardener who replied whilst holding in laughter ‘she’s not a bad girl!’.
We start to see Bruce’s controlling side, no phone line, the resentment of visitors and sickness when Aunt Lulu comes to visit for the day.
Cecily Calls for the doctor when she thinks Bruce is having a heart attack, he’s not happy and doesn’t want him back. During this time the Dr notices Bruce’s criminology books.
When Mavis and Michael come to visit they also put two and two together.
The show ends and the audience leave all asking the same questions. Was she’s telling the truth? How did she do what she done? How did he do what he done? Was she really the character she was portrayed to be? Who planned it the most?
I thought it was quite cleverly written, I loved the way the stage moved, and we just saw the creepy side of Bruce, always lurking in the background, taking things in and planning. I couldn’t help but thinking he actually reminded me a little of Jac from Titanic! Maybe it was the clothes and accent?!
Love from a stranger is showing at New Theatre and you can book tickets here, prices start from £12.00
* I was gifted my tickets in exchange for a review.

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