Monday, 2 July 2012

'Murder On The Nile', Theatre Royal, Glasgow, 28/6/12

This is the first production of the Agatha Christie Theatre Company that I've seen, having missed all previous ventures and it was certainly a popular production with the audience.

Whilst there are some who will say that Christie's plays are dated and belong to another era, and in part they may be true, it is nice, once in a while, to revisit such examples of theatre especially in a production which understands such shortcomings in the modern world.

Director Joe Harmston's steadfast direction, complimented by the elegant, simple paddle steamer design by Simon Scullion, navigates Christie's script with a direct attitude peppered with moments where some of the larger-than-life characters are played tongue-in-cheek. Matthew Bugg's sound design is evocative of the locale ~(complate with some glorious unidentified Arabian music) and Mike Robertson's lighting and the costume's of Brigid Guy further compliment the production.
There are few moments when the dramatic action begins to lag but Harmston never allows them to last for long.

The cast are very able and engaging, dealing with the archaic dialogue with aplomb. Led by a superb Denis Lill as 'Canon Pennefather', who commands attention at all times, and Kate O'Mara as 'Miss ffoliot-ffoulkes' (complete with lower-case fs), who appears to relish her over-the-top posh snob of a character, the cast manaouvere steadily bringing archetypes to life with realitve ease.

Based on one of Christie's most famous books, 'Death on the Nile', it is easy to see why Christie elected to reduce the large number of characters featured and choose to combine characters and to modify the plot in order to streamline for the stage but it does come across as a not quite successful effort when compared to the glorious cinematic presentations that have gone before. That said it is still an enjoyable romp through whodunnit territory which is something I always enjoy.

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