Brad Cansler Photo / John Cristow, played by Jason Russell, is a cad, but he has three women vying for his affection — and they are all assembled in the same English country home. They are, from left, his wife Gerda, played by Lindsey Wills; former flame Veronica, portrayed by Johanna Fredrickson; and his mistress, Henrietta, played by Annie Collins.

Fans of Agatha Christie murder mysteries may not have seen the hidden gem coming up at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre. The whodunit opens Friday, March 13, continuing through Sunday, March 29.

"The Hollow," a lesser-known but cleverly crafted thriller by Christie, will give audiences a seemingly new offering from the heralded queen of mystery. "The Hollow" is based on her 1946 book of the same name and was first staged in 1951.

As the story goes, a weekend gathering goes deathly awry as an unhappy game of romantic follow-the-leader explodes into murder at The Hollow, the English country home of Sir Henry and Lucy Angkatell just outside of London.

John Cristow is at the center of the trouble when the audience finds his dull-but-devoted wife Gerda, his mistress Henrietta and his former lover Veronica all assembled in the same place. As the list of romantic associations grows, so does the list of potential suspects when someone is suddenly murdered. Nearly everyone has a motive, but only one of them has acted on it.

Genial host Sir Henry is played by Tim Newland and his eccentric wife, Lucy, by Deb Meeks, whose character is arguably Christie's finest comic grande dame.

If you go

* What: “The Hollow”

* Where: Chattanooga Theatre Centre, 400 River St.

* When: 8 p.m. March 13-14, 20-21, 27-28; 7 p.m., March 19 and 26; 2:30 p.m. March 15, 22, 29

* Admission: $11- $30

* For more information: 423-267-8534




Visiting are several cousins from different sides of the Angkatell family. Reserved Edward (Corey Simpson), the rich owner of the family estate where they frolicked in their youth, is in love with Henrietta (Annie Collins), a cool and confident sculptor whose affections lie elsewhere. Midge (Tia Strickland), a less affluent and often overlooked cousin who has to work for a living, doesn't even see the point of confessing her love for Edward.

Increasing the tension are Dr. Cristow (Jason Russell), a successful but somewhat misanthropic doctor, and his socially awkward wife Gerda (Lindsey Wills), who everyone thinks of as dimwitted. A new neighbor turns out to be a glamorous movie star, Veronica (Johanna Fredrickson), who has a history with John.

It is charming Inspector Colquhoun (Dana Rogers) and his down-to-earth assistant, Sergeant Penny (Christian Smith), who must try to follow Christie's well-crafted twists and turns to unmask the killer. Officious butler Gudgeon (Patrick Sweetman) and housemaid Doris (Haylee Meyer) round out the cast of suspects.

Bob Willie is the guest director.

Live captioning for people with hearing loss will be available Thursday, March 19.

For tickets, call the CTC box office at 423-267-8534 or purchase here.


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