Wednesday, May 22, 2019


Written by Agatha Christie
Directed by Jon Elphick
Tempo Theatre Inc
Belconnen Theatre to 25 May

Reviewed by Len Power 18 May 2019

Agatha Christie’s ‘Towards Zero’ was first published in 1944 and was adapted for the stage by Christie and Gerald Verner in 1956. Director of the current production by Tempo Theatre, Jon Elphick, believes it may be the first time it has been performed in Canberra.

If you’ve read the novel, you’ll know that it is a very clever whodunit and arguably one of Agatha Christie’s best.  Tempo Theatre’s production of the play is one of their best, too.

In ‘Towards Zero’, a murder occurs during a seaside house party.  Investigating Police Superintendent Battle theorises that, when a murder is committed, the people involved all seem to be converging towards a given place and hour - all going towards zero.

From left: Jason Morton, Kim Wilson and Garry Robinson

This production is the 10th Christie play directed by Jon Elphick.  His large cast of eleven all perform their roles with conviction and a nice depth of characterization.  Kim Wilson, who has the distinction of playing in all ten Christie productions directed by Elphick, gives a particularly fine performance as Superintendent Battle.

As well as some of Tempo’s regular performers, it was good to see a number of very capable actors who are new to the Canberra stage, as well as two graduates from Perform Australia (previously Canberra Academy of Dramatic Art) in this production.

Las Wijayatilake and Chintarmanya Vivian

The costumes are credited to Marian Fitzgerald, Jon Elphick and the cast.  The women’s dresses were particularly attractive, stylish and correctly in period.
Jon Elphick has once again produced a well-designed drawing room set with an army of cast members and other helpers who have constructed and dressed it.  A small company like this must have a limited budget but the production values on show here are impressive.

The large audience at the matinee performance I attended demonstrated that Tempo has a strong and appreciative following.  We all had a lot of fun trying to guess the murderer – unsuccessfully, of course - in this well-done and intriguing murder mystery.

This review was first published in the Canberra City News digital edition of 19 May 2019.

Len Power’s reviews are also broadcast on the Artsound FM 92.7 ‘In the Foyer’ program on Mondays and Wednesdays at 3.30pm.