Continuing their "Summer Chills" series, the Alley Theatre in Houston moves from Arsenic and Old Lace's batty old ladies with murder on their minds to an elderly lady who just might be murdered in Agatha Christie's thriller, Towards Zero, running on the stage July 21-Aug. 6. Actor John Tyson and Alley artistic director Gregory Boyd share the directing duties.
At the death of Lady Tressilian, a group of friends and family gather together to divide up her estate. This event sets off Christie's rarely produced Towards Zero, where a failed suicide attempt, an accusation of theft, and the love life of a famed tennis player complicate the woman's death. Christie is best known for her mystery novels including "Then There Were None," "Death on the Nile" and "Murder on the Orient Express," although her play, The Mousetrap is the longest running theatre production in both London and Toronto.
Several Alley regulars take Towards Zero's mysterious roles including Bettye Fitzpatrick (Lady Tressilian), now in her 43rd season at the theatre, new Alley company members James Belcher (Superintendent Battle) and Ty Mayberry (Ted Latimer), Paul Hope (Thomas Royde), Charles Krohn (Mathew Treves) and Elizabeth Heflin (Mary Aldin). Also in the cast are Michael Tisdale (Nevile Strange), Michelle Federer (Audrey Strange) and John Tyson (Inspector Leach).
Designing the show are Kevin Rigdon (sets), Jeanne Button (costumes), Paulie Jenkins (lighting), Malcolm Nicholls (sound) and Randy Ingram (associate set designer). Elizabeth Berther is the stage manager.
Tickets to all Summer Chills productions are $17. The Alley Theatre is located at 615 Texas Avenue. For reservations, call (713) 228-8421. The Alley Theatre is on the web at http://www.alleytheatre.com. -- By Christine Ehren