Casting has today (20 December 2010) been announced the Agatha Christie Theatre Company's national tour of Chritie's 1958 play Verdict, with Dawn Steele leading a cast, which also includes 2011 Whatsonstage.com Awards Best London Newcomer nominee Ali Bastian.

The production, which is directed by Joe Harmston, opens at the Theatre Royal Windsor on 11 January 2011 before embarking on a national tour of twelve other venues.

Scottish actress Dawn Steele is best known for playing Lexie MacDonald in the hit BBC drama Monarch of the Glen and has stage credits including Simon Farquhar's 2006 drama Rainbow Kiss at the Royal Court. She is joined in the cast by Robert Duncan (Drop the Dead Donkey), Peter Byrne (Dixon of Dock Green), Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter film series), Elizabeth Power (EastEnders) and 1960’s pop star Mark Wynter.

Ali Bastian found fame playing Becca Dean during a six-year stint in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks and more recently as PC Sally Armstrong in The Bill. She also reached the semi-finals in the BBC reality show Strictly Come Dancing in 2009 where she was paired with professional dancer Brian Fortuna. The pair performed as part of West End dance show Burn The Floor, which played the Shaftesbury Theatre from July to September 2010. The couple are nominated for London Newcomer of the Year for their performance.

Verdict is one the few Christie plays which is not based on a novel or short story. It premiered in the West End in May 1958, and ran for 250 performances, later opening in New York. The play follows Professor Karl Hendryk, a brilliant and idealistic man whose world is turned upside-down when the prospect of life-saving treatment for his invalid wife persuades him to take on a new pupil. The conniving minx Helen will stop at nothing to get her way, and with murderous intentions afoot, it only remains to be seen what verdict will be delivered, and if justice will prevail.

Following its run in Windsor Verdict tours to Bath, Cheltenham, Plymouth, Cardiff, Wolverhampton, Barnstaple, Southend, High Wycombe, Malvern, Bromley and Derby, completing its run in Richmond on 30 April 2011.

The play, which is designed by Simon Scullion, is produced by Bill Kenwright by special arrangement with Agatha Christie Ltd.


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