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Preview: Love From A Stranger at Newcastle Theatre Royal


Love From A Stranger
Newcastle Theatre Royal
Tuesday 12th – Saturday 16th June 2018

A dazzling new version of a forgotten Agatha Christie classic is coming to Newcastle Theatre Royal next month – unsettling, shocking and full of suspense, Lucy Bailey’s Love From a Stranger is Christie for the 21st century.

Love From a Stranger tells the story of Cecily Harrington, who has just won a huge sum in a sweepstake. Finally free to marry her dull fiancĂ©, all begins to unravel when she begins a whirlwind romance with a handsome and charming stranger who sweeps her off her feet. She recklessly abandons her old life to settle in the remote and blissful surroundings of a country cottage. However, her newfound love is not all that he seems…

Electric with suspense and with a shocking twist, this is an edge-of-your-seat, rarely seen thriller by the UK’s greatest crime writer, rediscovered in a brand new production by acclaimed director Lucy Bailey.

Christie’s play started life as a short story, Philomel Cottage, which was published in 1934 and later adapted for Theatre.  It wasn’t performed until Frank Vosper, a rising star of the stage and screen, worked up a sharper version which became a hit in the West End in 1936, with a further run in New York. However, despite sundry radio and film versions, Love From a Stranger fell into obscurity, until now.

Director Lucy Bailey, acclaimed for her work with the Royal Shakespeare Company and Shakespeare’s Globe, explained why she was drawn to the play: “What attracted me were the dark undercurrents and how relevant it is, how we don’t know people and what erotic addiction and compulsion blinds us in our lives. The successful liar is what’s so fascinating to Christie. The story could happen any time. We are updating it to the late fifties, but it could be set now. People go with their lovers to isolated places to have a romance. It absolutely is current.”

She added: “In Agatha Christie there’s always a mystery to be solved, isn’t there? In her stories and plays, somebody is done away with and the task – which usually falls to a sleuth – is to work out whodunit. In Love From a Stranger many of the familiar elements of a Christie mystery are absent, which makes it all the most mystifying. So, it will be a different experience for audiences. I predict they will go to the pub talking about it.”

Love From a Stranger is a drama that keeps audiences guessing – it’s not a whodunit, but a whodunwhat.

Casting includes Justin Avoth (Ripper Street) as Nigel Lawrence, Helen Bradbury (Bloody Queens: Elizabeth & Mary) as Cecily Harrington, Sam Frenchum (Grantchester, Holby City) as Bruce Lovell and Alice Haig (Scottish Killers) as Mavis Wilson.

The play is directed by Lucy Bailey with set and costume design by Mike Britton, and lighting design by Oliver Fenwick. Love From A Stranger is presented by Fiery Angel and Royal & Derngate, Northampton.

Photos by Sheila Burnett

Love From A Stranger is at Newcastle Theatre Royal Tue 12 – Sat 16 June 2018 at 7.30pm and matinees on Wed and Thu at 2pm and Sat at 2.30pm, and early booking is advisable.  Tickets from £14.50 can be purchased from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 (Calls cost 7ppm plus your phone company’s access charge) or book online at

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