Review: 'Murder On The Nile' Keeps You On The Edge Of Your Seat

By: Joan Aucoin

Topics: Local Theater

Beadsellers Violet and Charlotte Skinner and Lee Lacroix as Miss Ffoliot- Ffoulkes.

 

If you love live theater, “Murder on the Nile” will keep you on the edge of your seat as the cast and crew at the Chatham Drama Guild escorts the audience to the observation saloon on a paddle steamer in Egypt. True to the Queen of Mystery Agatha Christie’s 1944 play, a cast of talented thespians sips champagne while challenging one another with talk of friendship, family, love, marriage, jealousy, faith, travel, loyalty, betrayal, bribery, corruption, ending in murder!

Agatha Christie visited Egypt as a young woman for several months totally interested in parties. As a more mature adult, Christie returned with a fondness for the Nile Valley. An actor friend asked her to write a play so he could play the fictional sleuth Hercule Poirot. Christie instead wrote a church canon for Francis J. Sullivan to play.  Canon Pennyfather became her lead character who sweeps through the mystery with lines of wisdom, insight, faith, and prophecy. Hidden horizons, moonshine over the Nile, and the warning that “some say clergy traveling on a ship brings bad luck.”

Bragan Thomas once again shines like a star becoming Canon Pennyfather, guardian and uncle to Kay Mostyn, “the richest girl in England.” Thomas is at times bold, gentle, quizzical, and problem-solving, even quoting the Bible. Kristin Winn’s Kay is beautiful and elegant arriving aboard like royalty announcing her marriage and honeymoon to the handsome Simon Mostyn, played by Matthew Gardner, the perfect well-to-do couple in celebration mode. Until we learn that Simon was betrothed to Kay’s best friend, Jacqueline DeSeverac. Rachel Walman expresses Jacqueline’s dismay and plots for revenge while refusing to get off the boat as the Canon advises for the good of all, especially herself. Did I mention a small handgun? Murder under the moonshine is now obvious.  Who will get it? Who dunnit? What are best friends and lovers to do to soothe their own emotional disconnects? 

Devin Massarsky plays the book-reading observer Smith who seems to show up at all the right times. Lee LaCroix is the wealthy, more mature Miss Ffoliot-FFoukes who doesn’t like her cabin and demands a better one while advising “not to rush into conversations with every person you meet.” Lizzy Smythe is her niece Christina Grant with a “novelette mind.” Todd Cashdollar plays the head waiter Steward. Kay Beatty is Louise, Kay Mostyn’s maid. Joseph Theroux is the Good Doctor Bessner, psychologist and physician who tends to several wounds. Oh yes, the small pistol is fired several times. Cute Beadsellers appear at times with trinkets for sale. Charlotte and Violet Skinner, both students at Monomoy Regional High School, add a touch of sparkle until they become police officers. The Ship’s Captain McNaught (Mark Roderick) was played by Scott Hamilton on opening night.

Scott and Kathy Hamilton have contributed hugely to the success of “Murder on the Nile” with their dedication to “keeping live theater alive.” Scott directed, and designed the set and lighting. Kathy is stage manager.  Producer Pam Banas provided the elegant costumes for the ladies, proper attire for the men, and fun attire for the supporting players. Banas also helped with set construction and posters. Don Howell created the sounds. Marie Williams painted the sign.

 

And yes, I was on the edge of my seat to the very end. How surprised was I to learn of the true character guilty of murder on the Lotus paddle steamer between Shellal and Wadi Halfa! Who gets murdered? By whom? The actors keep it all close to their vests with subtle portrayals. Enjoy the performances and darkness of the tale by the Queen of Mystery. 

DETAILS:
“Murder on the Nile”
At the Chatham Drama Guild, Crowell Road, Chatham
Through Dec. 4
Information and reservations: 508-945-0510, chatdramaguild.org

If you love live theater, “Murder on the Nile” will keep you on the edge of your seat as the cast and crew at the Chatham Drama Guild escorts the audience to the observation saloon on a paddle steamer in Egypt. True to the Queen of Mystery Agatha Christie’s 1944 play, a cast of talented thespians sips champagne while challenging one another with talk of friendship, family, love, marriage, jealousy, faith, travel, loyalty, betrayal, bribery, corruption, ending in murder!Agatha Christie visited Egypt as a young woman for several months totally interested in parties. As a more mature adult, Christie returned with a fondness for the Nile Valley. An actor friend asked her to write a play so he could play the fictional sleuth Hercule Poirot. Christie instead wrote a church canon for Francis J. Sullivan to play.  Canon Pennyfather became her lead character who sweeps through the mystery with lines of wisdom, insight, faith, and prophecy. Hidden horizons, moonshine over the Nile, and the warning that “some say clergy traveling on a ship brings bad luck.”Bragan Thomas once again shines like a star becoming Canon Pennyfather, guardian and uncle to Kay Mostyn, “the richest girl in England.” Thomas is at times bold, gentle, quizzical, and problem-solving, even quoting the Bible. Kristin Winn’s Kay is beautiful and elegant arriving aboard like royalty announcing her marriage and honeymoon to the handsome Simon Mostyn, played by Matthew Gardner, the perfect well-to-do couple in celebration mode. Until we learn that Simon was betrothed to Kay’s best friend, Jacqueline DeSeverac. Rachel Walman expresses Jacqueline’s dismay and plots for revenge while refusing to get off the boat as the Canon advises for the good of all, especially herself. Did I mention a small handgun? Murder under the moonshine is now obvious.  Who will get it? Who dunnit? What are best friends and lovers to do to soothe their own emotional disconnects? Devin Massarsky plays the book-reading observer Smith who seems to show up at all the right times. Lee LaCroix is the wealthy, more mature Miss Ffoliot-FFoukes who doesn’t like her cabin and demands a better one while advising “not to rush into conversations with every person you meet.” Lizzy Smythe is her niece Christina Grant with a “novelette mind.” Todd Cashdollar plays the head waiter Steward. Kay Beatty is Louise, Kay Mostyn’s maid. Joseph Theroux is the Good Doctor Bessner, psychologist and physician who tends to several wounds. Oh yes, the small pistol is fired several times. Cute Beadsellers appear at times with trinkets for sale. Charlotte and Violet Skinner, both students at Monomoy Regional High School, add a touch of sparkle until they become police officers. The Ship’s Captain McNaught (Mark Roderick) was played by Scott Hamilton on opening night.Scott and Kathy Hamilton have contributed hugely to the success of “Murder on the Nile” with their dedication to “keeping live theater alive.” Scott directed, and designed the set and lighting. Kathy is stage manager.  Producer Pam Banas provided the elegant costumes for the ladies, proper attire for the men, and fun attire for the supporting players. Banas also helped with set construction and posters. Don Howell created the sounds. Marie Williams painted the sign.And yes, I was on the edge of my seat to the very end. How surprised was I to learn of the true character guilty of murder on the Lotus paddle steamer between Shellal and Wadi Halfa! Who gets murdered? By whom? The actors keep it all close to their vests with subtle portrayals. Enjoy the performances and darkness of the tale by the Queen of Mystery.