Christie tried to interest Peter Saunders, later the producer of The Mousetrap in the play in 1950. He suggested amendments to update some of the references which were now twenty years old and tried the play out at the Theatre Royal, Bath where it opened on July 9, 1956 and ran for one week and eight performances. It was billed under the Westmacott name but the true identity of the author slipped out resulting in good attendance figures. Saunders however felt that it would not survive in the West End and Christie didn't pursue the matter further.
Following Christie's death, the copyright for the play was owned by her daughter, Rosalind Hicks, who was unenthusiastic about the play as it was believed that the main character was based on her. Following Hicks' death in 2004, a new production of the play, starring Jenny Seagrove and Honeysuckle Weeks and produced by Bill Kenwright, was to open in London's West End on 14 December 2009. Kenwright described the play as "brutal and incredibly honest" and "It's a good enough play to stand up without the Christie brand. It's quite a tough play. It is a substantial night at the theatre."
The love between a mother and daughter turns to jealousy and bitterness in this intense and personal drama. Ann Prentice falls in love with Richard Caulfield and hopes for a new life and happiness. Only her daughter, Sarah, takes an instant jealous dislike to him. Resentment slowly corrodes their relationship as each seeks comfort in the formidable and knowing Dame Laura Whitstable who remarks, “the trouble with sacrifice is that once its made its not over and done with.
- Ann Prentice
- Richard Caulfield
- Dame Laura Whitstable
- Sarah Prentice
- Jerry Lloyd
- Lawrence Steene
- Basil Mowbray
- Doris Cauldfield
The play takes place in a red brick Victorian mansion block, near Sloane Square, London.
1956 Bath production
It played in Bath for 8 performances in 1956.
The play was performed by the Agatha Christie Theatre Company, and was directed by Roy Marsden. The play premiered at the Theatre Royal, Windsor on 3 November. It was performed there until the 14 December, after which the play was brought to the Trafalgar Studios in London's West End. There it had a limited run of 31 performances (between 15 December 2009 and 9 January 2010).
- Jenny Seagrove as Ann Prentice
- Honeysuckle Weeks as Sarah Prentice
- Simon Dutton as Richard Caulfield
- Martin Fisher as Lawrence Steene
- Tracey Childs as Dame Laura Whitstable
- Ann Wenn as Doris Caulfield
- Gay Soper as Edith (Theatre Royal, Windsor)
- Gabrielle Lloyd as Edith (Trafalgar Studios, London)
- Simon Hepworth as Jerry Lloyd (Theatre Royal, Windsor)
- Peter Sandys-Clarke as Jerry Lloyd (Trafalgar Studios, London)