THIS take on one of Agatha Christie’s most popular stories is sufficiently adventurous and different to overcome deeply embedded notions of how the tale should be told, particularly given its star studded 1980 cinema treatment with Elizabeth Taylor and Angela Lansbury in the leading roles.

It will jar with the more purist of Christie fans with lots of reworking of both this popular whodunnit and the central character of Miss Marple, bringing in new inventions along with backstory from other novels. However, this brings more levels to the story which, mainly, keep faith with the original’s themes.

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(Picture: Helen Murray)

Playwright Rachel Wagstaff turns Agatha Christie’s 1962 village murder mystery into a female focussed psychological investigation which also delves into Miss Marple’s own personal life and, through some bold invention, widens the theme of having and not having children, loss, regret and fulfilment. This involves an - at times - fractious relationship with her own nearest thing to a son, Chief Inspector Cradock, played by Simon Shepherd.

Director Melly Still’s staging is clever and effective, using the replaying over and over again of the party where our victim is poisoned, to show the drama from different character’s perspectives and, of course, with some deceits.

The characters physically rewind the action, move around the stage like automatons and freeze at given times in the dialogue to enable another take on the murder to be given.

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(Picture: Helen Murray)

Susie Blake is a subtle, nuanced Miss Marple balanced with a gloriously over the top Dolly Bantry from Julia Mills. Very different characters, yes, but similar in their need to cope with what life has thrown at them as they become older women in the early 1960s.

An excellent Suzanna Hamilton as a fractured Marina Gregg is really the central character of this show and her relationship with the women (and girls) in her life is the axis the drama turns on.

The Wales Millennium Centre and Wiltshire Creative Production runs at the New Theatre, Cardiff until April 6.

By Mike Smith