‘I’d murder undeserving billionaires…’ Stars of York world premiere reveal their perfect crime

17 Feb 2017 @ 7.23 pm
| Entertainment

Two modern stars take on the roles of a legendary writer and movie star in a comedy thriller about to receive its world premiere in York.

Murder, Margaret And Me

York Theatre Royal

Sat Feb 18-Sat Mar 4 @ 7.30pm, matinees Thurs 2pm; Sat 2.30pm


More details and book

Nichola McAuliffe plays crime author Agatha Christie, tangling with Susie Blake as film favourite Margaret Rutherford in Murder, Margaret and Me at York Theatre Royal.

In the early 1960s the ‘queen of crime’ and ‘the funniest woman alive’ were brought together to make the Miss Marple films. These went on to be a big success but were very nearly never made.

Christie didn’t want Rutherford to bring her fabled spinster to life. For her part Rutherford was mortified at the prospects of sullying her reputation with something as sordid as murder.

Shocking secret

Super-sleuth: Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple

Murder, Margaret and Me is the story of the real reason why the acting legend didn’t want to take on the role that made her celebrated across the world. Margaret and Agatha form an unlikely friendship filled with afternoon tea and gossip.

Meanwhile Agatha turns detective herself as she becomes determined to unearth Rutherford’s tragic and shocking secret.

Nichola and Susie are joined by Andrina Carroll as The Spinster, who narrates and leads the story, while bearing a certain resemblance to Miss Marple. Andrina replaces Indira Joshi, who had to leave the production for personal reasons.

This production is part of a year-long programme of work put together by an all-female panel which aims to redress the imbalance in women’s roles in both theatrical work and the industry as a whole.

‘I’ve never read an Agatha Christie book’

Partners in crime: Nichola McAuliffe and Susie Blake

Nichola McAuliffe has been starring on stage and screen for many years. She played the Duchess of Cumberland in lavish ITV drama Victoria, but many will remember her as Sheila from seven series of Granada’s comedy Surgical Spirit.

Susie Blake made Britain hoot as the sarcastic continuity announcer on Victoria Wood As Seen On TV in the 1980s, and played Bev in Coronation Street from 2004 to 2006.

They kindly agreed to answer a few probing YorkMix questions…

Nichola McAuliffe

Nichola McAuliffe as Madame Arcat in Blithe Spirit at York Theatre Royal. Photograph: Anthony Robling / York Theatre Royal

Which Agatha Christie character would you most like to be and why?

I’ve never read an Agatha Christie book.

Who are the women actors you love to watch (present company excepted)?

Sandra Bullock, Sigourney Weaver, Kathy Bates, Cate Blanchett, Penelope Cruz (in Almodovar films).

What is the best thing about coming to York?

It would be impossible to select one thing. Being here makes me happy. Working with director Damian Cruden makes me happy. Walking along the river…

If you could commit the perfect crime, what would it be?

Murder and internet theft from undeserving billionaires.

What are the challenges of ‘becoming’ Agatha Christie?

Learning the lines.

Susie Blake

Which Agatha Christie character would you most like to be and why?

Poirot’s secretary Miss Felicity Lemon or his valet Georges.

What is the best thing about coming to York?

Beautiful architecture and wonderful countryside.

If you could commit the perfect crime, what would it be?

Getting money out of people who don’t deserve it and spreading the wealth.

What do you think is the secret of Margaret Rutherford’s enduring appeal?

Her warmth and honesty.