The Shaw Festival's annual mix of heady Shavian classics and populist entertainment includes the thriller, Love From a Stranger, by Frank Vosper, opening Aug. 17 at the Royal George Theatre. The 1936 suspense yarn (in the category of populist), drawn from an Agatha Christie novel, concerns two women — Mavis and Cecily — who share a London flat. After winning money in a lottery, they prepare to sublet their place while they travel. According to production notes: "Wanting to explore her new found freedom, Cecily dreads the arrival of her longtime fiancé, Nigel, who has been working abroad. Cecily decides to call off the wedding when she meets Bruce Lovell, a charming adventurer who arrives to inquire about the flat. Soon Bruce and Cecily are married and living in a small, secluded cottage in the woods. But what does Cecily actually know about this mysterious stranger who has whisked her off her feet?"
Playwright Vosper (1899-1937) played Bruce in the London and New York productions. The Shaw production in Niagara on-the Lake, Ontario, is directed by Micheline Chevrier and features Laurie Paton, Lisa Norton, Leo Vernik, Mike Shara, Richard Farrell, Jennifer Phipps and Helen Taylor.
Designers are Brian Perchaluk (set and costumes) and Ereca Hassell (lighting). Previews began Aug. 1. Performances continue to Nov. 25.
The Shaw Festival is devoted to the works of Bernard Shaw and his contemporaries and also (new to the mandate this season) works about the period in which Shaw lived. The Royal George is the intimate proscenium house of the festival. The venue has traditionally been the home of Shaw one-acts, mysteries and musicals.
For information, call (800) 657-1106.
— By Kenneth Jones