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THEATRE/LTA's Witness for the Prosecution

Kirsten Obadal
By Kirsten Obadal
Posted on Apr 30,2012
Filed Under Entertainment , Local Style,
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Photo by Doug Olmstead <br /> <br />Robin Zerbe (Romaine) and James McDaniel (Mr. Meyers, QC)<br />
Photo by Doug Olmstead
Robin Zerbe (Romaine) and James McDaniel (Mr. Meyers, QC)

ALEXANDRIA, VA. - Lovers of Rumpole of the Bailey, whodunits, and especially those in the legal profession will relish this no-nonsense depiction of the British legal system in the LTA’s current production of Witness for the Prosecution by Agatha Christie. 

Photo by Doug Olmstead <br /> <br />Robert Ford (Detective) and Russell Silber (Leonard)<br />
Photo by Doug Olmstead
Robert Ford (Detective) and Russell Silber (Leonard)

Veteran thespian Eddie Page does a masterful job of directing this play.  Some readers may recall the movie version of 1957 which featured Marlene Dietrich, Tyrone Power and Charles Laughton.  
 
Theater goer Lotte Goldman of Springfield observed to Local Kicks: “It’s interesting to see what the English law does, and how it’s different from the American law.”  
 
The play is set in three acts.  The central Act, Act II, is where the audience as the jury listens to the evidence and testimony of witnesses.  At the end of Act II, we are left, like any jury, to make up our minds based on the evidence.  
 
The play is not overdone; the emphasis is left on the content of the script.  As such it is realistic, leaving the focus on ideas, argument, and evidence, just as it should be in a real trial.  
 
Even so, there are some precious lines, such as when the stuffy, bewigged judge declares, “I thought I knew everything about blondes.”  
 
Do your best to figure out if the defendant is guilty, but don’t cheat yourself of the fun by peeking into the end of the novel before you see the play.  Agatha Christie is at her best in this fine depiction of crime and mystery.

Photo by Doug Olmstead <br /> <br />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 by Doug Olmstead
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)

The play was produced by veterans Carol Strachan and Richard Schwab.  Plausible and appropriate sets were designed by John Downing.  
 
Also well done were the costumes, appropriate for the period (1950’s), by Susan Boyd.  The attorney for the defense is played by Mark Lee Adams, a veteran of community theater who has been previously nominated for a WATCH award.  
 
One is also delighted to see the return of the talented John Barclay Burns, who plays the solicitor (Mr. Mayhew).  The defendant is played well by Russell Silber, who can express all sorts of emotions almost exclusively with his generous eyebrows.  
 
Silber is making his LTA debut, but has a list of credits from college and other community theaters.  One must also mention the German common-law wife played by Robin Zerbe, who masters not only the accent but also makes us trust and distrust at the right moments. Zerbe played a stand in role on the HBO series VEEP, which aired on April 22.
 
Witness runs at the LTA through May 12, 2012; tickets can be purchased online at www.thelittletheatre.com or by calling 703-683-0496.

Photo by Doug Olmstead <br /> <br />Robin Zerbe (Romaine) and Mark Lee Adams (Sir Wilfred Robarts, QC)<br /> <br />
Photo by Doug Olmstead
Robin Zerbe (Romaine) and Mark Lee Adams (Sir Wilfred Robarts, QC)


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