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April 23, 2012 Published in Arts & Style, Other News

Witness For The Prosecution Little Theater Of Alexandria

By Erin DeCaprio

Sam Sheinberg (Court Wader), Russell Silber (Leonard), Bruce Schmid (Barrister), Dan Beck (Clerk of the Court), Jeffrey Clarke (Justice Wainright), John Johnson (Barrister), and Mark Lee Adams (Sir Wilfred Robarts, QC) (Photo: Doug Olmsted)

Anyone looking for a classic British whodunit will be duly satisfied with Little Theater of Alexandria’s production of Witness for the Prosecution. This Agatha Christie standard is presented in a literal style that will delight the theatrical purists in the crowd and entertain anyone who enjoys the thrill of the unexpected.

The plot follows a fairly standard murder accusation and denial involving an apparently naïve young man and the untimely demise of his older, wealthier lady-friend. He insists their relationship is wholesome and genuine, but the deceased will casts doubt on his motives—and his innocence. More intriguing still is the constantly changing testimony of the accused wife, a foreigner (we are frequently reminded in ominous tones) whose loyalty and honesty is nearly impossible to confirm. The couple is played by Russell Silber, who is convincing as the charming if disingenuous Leonard, and Robin Zerbe, whose presence on stage raises the energy level significantly as the duplicitous (and eponymous) Romaine. The performances are generally strong throughout, but the law office staff, played by Elizabeth Richters and Joseph LeBlanc, are remarkably well crafted and engaging characters, even as they have little to do with the plot itself—and what a plot it is. Ms. Christie is up to her usual tricks, and the twists throughout this story are as strong as any in her literary arsenal. Even seasoned mystery fans will not be disappointed in the surprises that await.

It is no surprise that LTA delivers its usual outstanding set and impeccable design. John Downing and his crew have created a window into the mid-20th century English law offices and courtroom where the action takes place. Technical details of the show are equally polished and create the kind of satisfying experience theatergoers have come to expect from this lovely venue.

The show runs approximately 165 minutes with two intermissions. Performances are Wednesday-Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3:00 p.m. through May 12.

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