• Opening Night

  • By: Ngaio Marsh
  • Narrated by: James Saxon
  • Length: 7 hrs and 37 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (143 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Opening Night  By  cover art

Opening Night

By: Ngaio Marsh
Narrated by: James Saxon
Try for $0.00

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy for $21.31

Buy for $21.31

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

Dreams of stardom had lured Martyn Tarne from faraway New Zealand to make the dreary, soul-destroying round of West End agents and managers in search of work.

The Vulcan Theatre had been her last forlorn hope, and now, driven by sheer necessity, she was glad to accept the humble job of dresser to its leading lady. And then came the eagerly awaited opening night.

To Martyn the night brought a strange turn of the wheel of fortune - but to one distinguished member of the cast it was to bring sudden and unforeseen death....

©1951 Original Text of 1951 by Ngaio Marsh (P)2015 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Miss Marsh at her best...she is thoroughly at home in the wings with a pack of actors locked in the grip of rehearsals and jealous intrigue." ( New Statesman)
"Miss Marsh’s best yet." ( Observer)

What listeners say about Opening Night

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    102
  • 4 Stars
    29
  • 3 Stars
    12
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    105
  • 4 Stars
    23
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    96
  • 4 Stars
    24
  • 3 Stars
    9
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Fun at the theatre

Ngaio Marsh is known for setting several of her Golden Age-era mysteries in the theatre, which she knew very well as a vocation and avocation. Just for fun, I have been revisiting those theatre-set stories.

Opening Night/Night at the Vulcan (pub. 1951) is fascinating. I like the characters -- most of them anyway. (As an aside, I have noticed that even though Marsh loves the theatre, she may not love all actors. Some of them are very unpleasant, even if innocent of murder.) The mystery was very good as well.

Unfortunately, this is one of those books where Alleyn does not appear until more than halfway into the story, but once he does enter the stage he dominates. Marsh kept me guessing until the end.

James Saxon narrated many -- perhaps all -- of Marsh's books, and I have found his performances to be oddly uneven. In this case, he was excellent.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Characters trump plot

Would you consider the audio edition of Opening Night to be better than the print version?

I read the book years ago and remember really enjoying it for the characters and the theater setting. Listening to it again years later, I see why I enjoyed it. While dated by time, the characters are interesting (except for the purposely annoying ones) and the insider's view of the theater is interesting. The murder is really secondary to the characters and their relationships.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Opening Night?

The opening moments with literally "starving artist" and her serendipitous finding of a job and food captures both attention and sympathy.

What about James Saxon’s performance did you like?

Real variety of voices.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The kindness of Badger and Jacko to Martyn is poignant.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Dull

Ngaio March loves the stage as a setting for murder as much as Agatha Christie loved the country house. I find the latter to be much more interesting. As for the book, it is certainly not a good sign when you get to the murder and you don't remember the victim being a character in the book. I decided to jump back a few hours and see what I had missed. It made me realize how often my mind wanders away from the story in a Marsh book. The book centers on a wanna be actress main character who is likeable enough. Alleyn does not appear until late and his solution is fairly standard. The reader did a decent job in this one, not his usual over acting.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

classic Marsh

Starting as a valentine to theater, Marsh develops the characters so well that I found myself rooting for my favorites. Beautifully performed by Saxon. Highly recommended.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

fabulously read with amazing voices

the reader represents cast of actors beautifully with expression nuance and great differentiation of both male and female voices

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

love this series

Where does Opening Night rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

All of is series are great. It ranks in the top 10.

What did you like best about this story?

The characters are richly described.

What does James Saxon bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I am an auditory learner so these are wonderful.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

No

Any additional comments?

Please continue this series.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Theatre With a Twist

Any additional comments?

Not my favourite Roderick Alleyn.
I thought the story had some interesting moments, but not enough for me to want to listen to it again, or recommend it to others - I thought Marsh would have given Mike Lamprey, from Surfeit of Lamprey's, more footage and let him be the romantic interest for 'the' girl in the end.
I wanted to pre-view this title before handing to my young teen - glad I did; other parents may want to know of these potential content issues too: adultery between the lead actors, a marital rape scene is alluded to euphemistically, suicide.
Now for my teeny gripe about Saxon - just a small one since he is an excellent narrator - he always uses WAY to much affectation for 'gay' characters in Marsh's stories.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Intensely written, performed and enjoyed

You don't have to know all about theater to enjoy the wonderful recreation of backstage and onstage life created here by mystery master Ngaio Marsh, who was also immersed in theater herself. This little troupe finds itself in a crisis. We are drawn in wondering first who will be killed (because someone always is) and then who did it? Plenty of motives and clues, as usual, brilliant and unbelievably speedy detection by Alleyne, but we still don't know who did it until the very end. How nice is that!

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for F. Baker
  • F. Baker
  • 11-06-21

Well performed - an excellent tale.

Intensely enjoyable rendition of one of my favourite Ngaio Marsh detective novels.
From James Saxon's portrayal of John James Rutherford through Adam Poole, Fred Badger, Martyn Tarn, Gay Gainsford to Fox, Gibson and even Alleyn - his expression of these characters came across clearly and with liveliness. The simplicity of Martyn Tarn's voice, the rich plumbiness of John James Rutherford's voice and the underplayed but authoritative voice of Alleyn and others all combined to allow the listener to sink into the world of Ngaio Marsh's excellent tale. A very expertly handled performance.
I look forward to others narrated by this excellent actor.

1 person found this helpful