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Murder On The Nile

Published by: Steve Burbridge on 20th Mar 2012 | View all blogs by Steve Burbridge

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MURDER ON THE NILE - Darlington Civic Theatre
On board a steamer, under the scorching Egyptian sun, a combustive mix of characters assemble for what will soon turn out to be a voyage of vendettas and a cruise with a killer.

Now in its seventh year – and with eight productions already staged – the Agatha Christie Theatre Company presents this stylish new production of the Queen of Crime’s classic thriller, Murder on the Nile.

With a stellar cast, headed by the ex- Dynasty diva Kate O’Mara, including seasoned stage performers such as Denis Lill and Mark Wynter and familiar faces from our television screens, Chloe Newsome (Coronation Street), Susie Amy (Footballer’s Wives) and Ben Nealon (Soldier, Soldier), it is inevitable that the show will be a crowd-puller.

As personalities clash and tempers fray, tragedy strikes and a body is discovered. All fingers point to Jacqueline de Severac, an old flame of the honeymooning Simon Mostyn (Ben Nealon). But is everything as it first seems?

Well, obviously not. And so begins a fascinating yarn laden with intrigue, suspense, drama and death – and all delivered with Christie’s trademark finesse.

In a production that is crammed full of cracking performances, it is Kate O’Mara as the formidable Miss ffoliot-ffoulkes who steals the show without even trying. Delightfully feline in her physical features, Miss O’Mara is equally cat-like in her manner. She sits and purrs much like a smug Siamese on a hearth rug, only moving occasionally to raise a perfectly manicured claw and scratch anyone who gets in her way.

The production values, too, are second to none. An impressive set recreates the deck of the paddle steamer Lotus, whilst subtle lighting effects illustrate the passage of time from day to evening. Brigid Guy’s costume design is a visual treat, in addition to being extremely authentic.

The pace is somewhat slow to begin with but it soon accelerates as Canon Pennefather (Denis Lill) becomes embroiled in a web of deceit and finds himself on the trail of a ruthless murderer.

A classic Christie thriller brought sumptuously to the stage by a top-notch cast. Highly recommended!

 Runs until Saturday 24 March, then continues to tour.

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