Murder On The Nile: Lighthouse, Poole ( November 5th, 2012)
I’m not quite sure what the Grande Dame of crime writing would make of this bright and breezy version of her classic thriller Murder on the Nile.
But somehow the Poirot meets End of the Pier style approach of the Official Agatha Christie Theatre Company works. It may be lightweight nonsense but it’s extremely entertaining lightweight nonsense. The theatre at Lighthouse was packed for Monday’s opening night.
Staged by Bill Kenwright and directed by Joe Harmston it romps through this ever-popular whodunnit flinging shoals of red herrings around as a killer stalks the decks of a Nile steamer.
With a cast headed by Nichola McAuliffe as potty social climber Helen ffoliot-ffoulkes (lowercase spelling correct) and Robert Duncan as worldly-wise cleric Canon Pennefather, it wears its heritage lightly but tells the story well.
Set on the ship’s observation deck, the focus is on newlyweds - mega-rich socialite Kay Mostyn (Susie Amy) and her relatively penniless husband Simon (Ben Nealon).
It’s some honeymoon. Barely has the ship weighed anchor than death is in the air and before long the bullets are flying. But who is the killer? There are motives galore, a feast of grudges, prejudices and tensions over class, money and love.
The passengers include a strange foreign doctor (Mark Wynter); a rather sullen French maid (Louise Faulkner); Miss ffoliot-foulkes’ put-upon niece (Jennifer Bryden); a young man called Smith who may not be quite what he seems (Max Hutchinson)and an ex-lover with a grudge (Claire Marlowe). It could be any of them.
Without a Poirot style sleuth to crack the case it is left to Duncan’s cynical but wise clergyman to untangle a web of intrigue and deceit, exercise the little grey cells and finally unmask the murderer.
*Murder on the Nile plays Lighthouse, Poole, until Saturday November 10.