The Unexpected Guest

Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Unexpected Guest is a two-act crime drama by Agatha Christie (1890-1976) [1].

The original text

The first production opened in the Duchess Theatre in London in 1958, and the text was first published in 1958 by Samuel French Ltd.

Translations and adaptations

The play was adapted a number of times, e.g. into an 1980 Italian television movie, L'ospite inatteso and several Indian film versions were made of the same story, beginning with Dhund (1973, produced and directed by B. R. Chopra in Hindi) and a radio dramatisation by Gordon House, broadcast by the BBC on 30 May 1981.

The script of the play was turned into a novel by Charles Osborne and published in the UK by HarperCollins in 1999.

Translated into Afrikaans under the title Die Onverwagte Besoeker by Louis van Niekerk.

For more on the various adaptations, see the Wikipedia entry on The Unexpected Guest[2]

Performance history in South Africa

1961: Presented by The Leonard Schach Cockpit Players, opening 9 March.

1979: Presented by the Arts Theatre Club at the Guild Theatre, directed by Mary Howe.

1980: The Afrikaans translation Die Onverwagte Besoeker was staged by PACT, directed by Bobby Heaney, with Ben de Koen (Richard Weyers), Rika Sennett (Laura Weyers), Pierre van Pletzen (Michael Strauss), Riana Wilkens (Swanie), Gerben Kamper (Jan Weyers), Tilana Hanekom (Mev Weyers), Andre Jacobs (Herman Acker), Eric Nobbs (Konst Calitz), Klaas de Boer (Speurder Du Toit) and Chris du Toit (Julian Fourie). Decor by Johan Badenhorst and costumes by Jennifer Andrew. During April and May 1980 this production toured the Transvaal and Natal - it was Heaney's first production with PACT's Afrikaans company.

1981: Directed by Charles Hickman for Pieter Toerien Productions and staged at the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town in December. The cast consisted of Bert Wyllie (Richard Warwick), Yvonne Banning (Laura Warwick), Eckard Rabe (Michael Starkwedder) , Bess Finney (Miss Bennett), Gavin van den Berg (Jan Warwick), Joyce Bradley (Mrs. Warwick), Dennis Folbigge (Henry Angell), Jonathan Rands (Sergeant Cadwallader), Norman Coombes (Inspector Thomas) and Tim Plewman (Julian Farrar). The set was designed and lit by Jannie Swanepoel and the costumes were by Noreen Sterling. This production opened at the Alhambra Theatre, Johannesburg, in January 1982.

2007: Directed by Malcolm Terrey at the Montecasino Theatre starring himself, James Alexander, Christine le Brocq, Tessa Jubber, Paddy Canavan, Jan Ellis, Darryl Evans and others. This production was seen in Cape Town in late 2006.


Theatre programme (Cockpit Players) held by NELM: [Collection: ASCH, Valda]: 2005. 65. 1. 10.

Theatre programme (Pieter Toerien production) held by Amazwi: CAMPBELL Location: [Collection: MARKET THEATRE]: 2014. 7. 223.

PACT theatre programme, 1980.

Barrow, Brian & Williams-Short, Yvonne 1988.

Theatre programme (2006) held by Amazwi: CAMPBELL Location: [Collection: KORT, Maurice]: 2012. 379. 37. 5.

Beeld 23 January 2007.

Arts Theatre Club archive held by George Mountjoy.

Return to

Return to PLAYS I: Original SA plays

Return to PLAYS II: Foreign plays

Return to PLAYS III: Collections

Return to PLAYS IV: Pageants and public performances

Return to South African Festivals and Competitions

Return to The ESAT Entries

Return to Main Page