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The Hollow: A Play (Acting Edition) Paperback – June 1, 1952
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By most accounts THE HOLLOW had a rocky pre-production road, with many feeling the novel would not translate well to the stage. Critical reaction was slightly mixed, with most critics declaring the first act somewhat clumsy, and unlike Christie's more celebrated plays THE HOLLOW never received a major New York Broadway production; even so, it proved a popular ticket in London, where it ran just slightly less than a year.
Although the novel includes Hercule Poirot as detective, Christie wrote him out of the stage adaptation, which concerns an ill-fated family reunion among the uppercrust. Lord and Lady Angkattle host the event, and Lady Angkatelle rather mischeiveously includes Dr. John Christow and his wife Gerda--he a notorious womanizer who is actually having an affair with another guest, she a devoted wife with a distinctly slow mental process, the sort of person who never gets the joke. The houseparty is further complicated by the arrival of a movie star, Veronica Crayle, a woman who knew and had a passionate affair with John before fate and her fame tore them apart.
The first half of the play is indeed a bit slow to wind up, but once the premise, characters, and motives are established it then unfolds with rapid recoil. Veronica tempts Christow, who spends the night with her; the day he is dead, with his wife Gerda standing over his body with gun in hand. But Gerda swears she heard the shot, rushed to the scene, and in shock simply picked up the weapon--and indeed, she is hardly the only person with motive, and some of the motives are quite subtle. The resolution of the mystery is disconcerting indeed, with Christie twisting our notions of most-likely and least-likely suspects with considerable skill.
Even so, this is not among Christie's greatest stage works, and I am not surprised that the play has never had a major American production: it is very, very English, perhaps too much so for the casual American reader, and the construction and style must have seemed old fashioned even when the play was originally produced. Recommended to Christie fans, but don't expect too much.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer