A light touch

Once again, Masterpiece Theatre is presenting an updated version of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple stories. Think of all the Shakespearean plays that have been set in other locales and other decades; it’s a tricky proposition, updating a classic story in a way that attracts a new audience without alienating the fans.

The last Marple go-round was a disaster, as the “rethinking” nearly destroyed what it was trying to preserve. Giving Miss Marple a back-story that involved a dead, married lover, adding a lesbian-themed component and changing the murderer’s identity were all dreadful ideas.

This time around, at least judging by the first offering, “A Pocketful of Rye,” it has done a better job.

The most substantive change from the written version is the substitution of a sister with an unsuitable boyfriend for the elderly Bible-spouting aunt. This works well enough, although I rather missed the old lady, whose glowering visage was a nice touch.

If you want to update something, heed a version of the carpenter’s axiom: think twice, revise once.

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