‘In the midst of life, we are in death’: SUDS’ ‘And Then There Were None’ is a masterpiece

SUDS' latest show thrills, exploring impressive depths

SUDS’ And Then There Were None is a thrilling and grand journey into a mysterious island in 1930s London. Directed by Caitlin Williams, the one-hour-and-forty-minute show never ceases to impress its audience. From the sublime stage setting, splendid costume to the magnificent lighting and music, the show catches your attention from the first minute with some quintessential British accent and two eclectic servants, Thomasina Rogers (Sami Novis) and Ethel Rogers (Safia Arain).

And Then There Were None is a story about trust and deception. It is a story that centres on lies, omissions, and manipulations. Ten individuals, each having a carefully constructed identity, constantly seeking to figure out whom they can trust and what they must hide. None of them is innocent; but in a sense, all of them are. In this slightly paranoid environment, we quickly find ourselves craving for some untainted love and relationships.

And Then There Were None is indeed also a story about love and relationships. We are fascinated to see Captain Lombard (Sean Landis) flirting with Miss Claythorne (Georgia Condon); we are amused by how Inspector William ‘Davis’ Blore (Max Peacock) passionately making himself known to everyone; and we are deeply drawn to the intricate bond the two Rogers slowly develop.

And Then There Were None tells us something about justice and law. It forcefully points to the contradiction in the way we ordinarily approach the criminal justice system and the absurdity inherent in that system. Emily Brent (Amy Keen), a rigidly religious lady, unapologetically unfolds this with her repeated and somehow hilarious “complaints” about “the younger generation”. On the other hand, Justice Wargrave (Thomas Hanaee) gradually exaggerates the ridiculous nature of the system with his succinct narrations throughout the play.

But ultimately, And Then There Were None tells us something about life itself. We are told with profundity that, “in the midst of life, we are in death”; but more importantly, we are passionately shown that “in the face of death, we live” — in fact, we live fearlessly. Despite the penetrating threats and dangers, we are impressed by the composure of Doctor Armstrong (Sophia Bryant) and General MacKenzie (Anita Donovan), and we are entertained by the flamboyance of Anthony Marston (Campbell Taylor). We find great strength and relief in them — we learn to appreciate all the complexities and dilemmas in life.

The second half of the plot, which is reminiscent of American sci-fi drama Under the Dome and Japanese manga Case Closed, appears to be somewhat tedious and largely predictable. But that is understandable given how popular this genre is and the audience is quickly compensated with a witty twist towards the end.

By any stretch, And Then There Were None is undeniably a masterpiece — breathtakingly exciting and remarkably thought-provoking.