Agatha Christie: The Lost Radio Plays collects three BBC radio plays that aired between 1948 and 1960. It also includes some bonus material.
“Butter in a Lordly Dish” from 1948 stars Richard Williams as Sir Luke Enderby KC, a skilled prosecutor who is also a philanderer, who is headed out on his latest fling. Then there’s Personal Call, a 1955 original story about a man receiving calls from someone claiming to be his dead wife. It stars Ivan Brandt and Barbara Lott. Finally, Williams stars as Poirot in the hour-long adaptation of Christie’s “Murder in the Mews.”
The acting is mostly solid with a few exceptions. There is a slight bent to the melodramatic in the original radio plays, and Williams isn’t the best Poirot ever.
As for the writing, anyone expecting new masterpieces will be disappointed. “Butter in a Lordly Dish” is comparable to an above average episode of the 1960s American series Theater Five. “Personal Call” is comparable to an average mid-1950s episode of Suspense. “Murder in the Mews” is a good story undermined by direction and style that is competent at best and Williams is a somewhat mediocre Poirot.
The extras include Agatha Christie-related audio recordings and interviews with actors who appeared in the original London stage production of her play the Mousetrap. In addition, comedian Toby Hadoke interviews the last-surviving cast member of the radio plays. In that extra, they discuss his showbiz career and how he became a successful costume designer on both sides of the pond. Hadoke is a talented interviewer who shows great interests in his subjects and makes this far more interesting than you might otherwise expect.
Overall, major fans of Agatha Christie will enjoy this release. It features rare and little-heard radio productions featuring her work that are okay, but not remarkable. In addition, the bonus material is well-presented and engaging.
Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5
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