An Agatha Christie creation with a star-studded cast could surely lead to nothing but a night of compelling entertainment as the 2012 production of Murder on the Nile took to the boards at Theatre Severn.
And those with high expectations would, I am sure, have left completely satisfied after the curtain fell.
Joe Harmston, Artistic Director, himself describes the production as a play about “the glamorous rich, in some bygone era, sailing up the Nile in a luxury steamer”.
Add a murder, some hidden secrets and a fair amount of “Gin Fizz” and you have Murder on the Nile, the ninth production by The Agatha Christie Theatre Company.
The audience is introduced to each character as they board the steamer welcomed by steward Harun (Sydney Smith) and pestered by the postcard and souvenir selling Musa (Hambi Pappas).
The group include socialite Kay Mostyn (Susie Amy) and her new husband Simon (Ben Nealon), Simon’s ex Jacqueline de Severac (Chloe Newsome) who has been following the newly-weds throughout their honeymoon, Kay’s Uncle Ambrose (Denis Lill) also known as Canon Pennefather and the sleuth of the story, Miss ffoliot-ffoulkes (Kate O’ Mara) and niece Christina Grant (Jennifer Brydon), the outspoken William Smith (Max Hutchinson), Dr Bessner (Mark Wynter) and Kay’s maid Louise de Vallois (Vanessa Morley).
I wouldn’t usually name a whole cast but in this case I feel they all deserve a mention. The performance was slick and professional, funny and entertaining, thought-provoking and kept me on my toes with a well thought out mystery.
And all of this is done with a single simple set and not a murder in sight until the second act!
The performance has made me eager to see another by this company and it’s stars and I look forward to a return next year.
For me O’Mara deserves a special mention for her portrayal of the rich and rude Miss ffoliot-ffoulkes. The character brings laughs to the production – even following the murder of one of the travellers. Her portrayal of Miss ffoliot-ffoulkes after a few too many drinks made me laugh out loud and I was actually disappointed when she retired to bed.
Lill really stood out on stage and did a wonderful job at convincing us the drama was unrolling under the heat of the Egyptian sun. Even when sitting silent and alone on stage as he worked out who was behind the goings on he had the audience enraptured.
But I was most impressed by Newsome whose timing was perfect throughout and who very ably portrayed a jealous and scheming ex-lover.
I would love to say more but I will let you discover it for yourselves!
Murder on the Nile is showing at Theatre Severn until Saturday June 23rd. For more information visit www.theatresevern.co.uk or contact the Box Office for tickets on (01743) 281281.