The lights came up on the stage of Quince Orchard High School over the weekend to reveal the elaborately designed set of "And Then There Were None" by Agatha Christie. Immediately, the audience lost all sense of reality and was drawn into the world of Soldier Island in this engaging murder mystery.

"And Then There Were None" tells the story of a group of 10 strangers, brought together one night under different pretenses to a house on a beautiful, remote island off the coast of England.

As the night goes on, however, the initially friendly gathering turns deadly as, one by one, the guests are murdered. Each murder corresponds to a poem left on the mantelpiece by an unseen host, Mr. Irwin. It soon becomes evident that Mr. Irwin is a fabrication, and the remaining guests are left to wonder which of them is the murderer, and more urgently, which of them is next.

The realistic set, complete with matching sofas, velvet curtains and doors leading out to a visible balcony, set a tone of authenticity that contributed to the performance. The lighting merited praise, as colors projected onto the scenery changed and mimicked the times of day.

The characterization of the actors was excellent. Matt Perreault's snotty, nasal portrayal of Anthony Marston, for example, was carried through flawlessly, and Emily Brent performed expertly with a stern and scornful manner, skillfully capturing the traits of Maggie Smith.

A touch of comedy was artfully added by Alonso Gamarra's pompous and ridiculous portrayal of William Blore. With a moustache that seemed to have a mind of its own, Gamarra hilariously conveyed his character, moving about in an awkward, uncomfortable manner befitting the incompetent policeman.

Most notable of all was Shelley Corson in the role of Mrs. Rogers. Corson's delightful cockney accent and over-the-top characterization was energetic and vivacious.

There were some technical difficulties that detracted from the performance. The actors did not always project their voices, making it difficult for the audience to understand some of the lines. Regardless, the play still proved to be a stunning interpretation of Agatha Christie's work.

Scott Rosenfeld

Seneca Valley High School

Standing, from left, are Alonso Gamarra, Colin Read, Jacqueline Gailes and Matt Perreault. Seated, from left, are Maggie Smith and Marsha Stepensky.