I had the wonderful opportunity to see Agatha Christie’s ‘Witness for the Prosecution’, as a play, at London County Hall. A thrilling, sensational drama that follows the murder of a wealthy woman, and how the court case unfolds. In fact, the setting itself cannot be called a stage or theatre- but was a courtroom! The play brought art and reality together, as the audience and actors alike, sat in this immersive courtroom staging. Not only did the surroundings captivate spectators, but the story itself was one of true mystery. Simplistic yet suspenseful, the tale will keep you hooked to law, justice, order! 

As I mentioned before, the setting of the play was one unmatched. Not only did it blur the lines between theatre and life, but it was an interactive one too- mainly for those seated at the Jury; there’s more details on this further down. Set up as a ‘thrust stage’, where the stage is in the middle surrounded by the audience on each side but the back, it entirely mimics the looks of a courtroom. To start with, the backside of the stage is where the judge resides, with the witness box on his right. On the sides were the Jury panel, where the audience sat too. In front of the Judge’s position, there was a table where the court clerk(s) sat, with the prosecution and defense at the front of the right and left side of the stage. Finally, the accused was placed right at the forefront of the stage, and the rest of the audience watched from the sides. The way they sat in too was positioned, and looked like, the public galleries in a courtroom. Even aside from looks, they ensured the engagement with a courtroom was maintained: as the transmission occurred, they announced ‘Court will now be adjourned’.  The detail and meticulousness of such stylistic choices was apparent, and truly transported a viewer to an actual courtroom.  

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The play begins with the dramatic entrance of the protagonist Leonard Vale, accused of murdering an elder woman in order to inherit her fortune. Followed by two policemen, in the dim lighting, the audience is told he is facing capital punishment. As the story progresses, we meet other interesting, ambiguous, even bizarre characters. Some are key to the plot, others add depth to the play. However, one thing is for certain, they all act brilliantly. Aside from the enveloping setting, the realistic performances draw you in closer and closer. Actor Taz Skylar takes on the main character’s role, and does so greatly! His acting is consistent throughout and whether it’s a simple dialogue or an emotional outburst, each is done so naturally, and you’re left wondering whether this truly is a play? The same can be said for all other performers too, especially Alexandra Guelff, who plays the role of Romaine Vole- the protagonist’s wife, who is much more than meets the eye. In all, the play and performers could be synonymous with the art of naturalism. 


Never have I ever enjoyed being part of the audience more than the ‘Witness for the prosecution’ itself. Foremost, the blend of the courtroom and stage itself is thoroughly enjoyable. A peer of mine –Malaika Noor-  felt that 'it really kept me interested till the end, and didn’t feel at all like two and a half hours!'. Time really does fly when you're having fun, and such a quote is applicable to this play. However, what takes the ‘cherry on top’ is the viewers fortunate to be sitting at the jury! That’s right, the jury members, who are in actuality audience members. Not only are they spoken and referred to throughout the play’s entirety, the story is particularly interactive with this panel. For instance, as the Judge enters, and asks for all to ‘rise’, the Jury does too. Secondly, and most excitingly, when a verdict is given at the play’s end, the foreman in the Jury shouts it out. Being part of the jury would’ve been such a great, distinctive experience. I myself am tempted to watch the show again, this time with tickets as a jury member. 

If I could recommend anything to watch urgently, there could be nothing more suitable than ‘Witness of the Prosecution’. A play that will not only let you escape reality momentarily, but engross and enthrall you; and to the point where the ending will feel as though a physical return to real life. Whether you enjoy court action, mystery sprinkled with humour, or simply a great crime story, this play has it all. You will be captivated till the end, and even after. Pondering over the mystery, the atmosphere, the experience. So drag your friends, your family, or even visit yourself, and enjoy being a ‘Witness of the Prosecution’.