Written by 3:40 am fullerton, Review, Stagestheatre, Theater, Uncategorized

STAGEStheatre Presents:  Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Nile in Fullerton – Review

Written by Patrick Chavis 

Murder, murder, and more murder — who knows the subject better than the queen of the murder mystery herself, Agatha Christie. In her lifetime Christie wrote over 50 different novels, mostly focusing on a genre she mastered, the murder mystery. Christie’s stories are all different and unique, but one thing they have in common is a mysterious death and a group of people who all seem guilty. This trope is consistent in Stages Theatre presents Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Nile. While the climax and twist ending in this production give a much-needed boost of energy to the show, the buildup in the first act lacks a kick and feels almost irrelevant after watching the play all the way through.

Story:

Murder on the Nile is set on a river cruise in Egypt. Nine characters get on the boat with different reasons for being there and bring their drama aboard the ship. When the drama unfolds, someone is murdered, and the character Canon Pennefather, a priest, played by Lawrence Ingalls, investigates before the cops arrive.

We know there will be murder before we even sit down to watch the show because it’s in the title. So right from the beginning, the audience is like a fly on the wall as we watch each passenger get on the ship. They have conversations, and during the conversations, we learn more about who they are and their motivations for being on the boat. Each character’s background is unique, and by the end of the play, every character is covered.

The setup: 

What struck me the most about this production (and I think it was much clearer because of the obvious talent on the stage) is that the first act drags, and the setup placing the audience into the Egyptian atmosphere isn’t executed very well. Egypt is an important character in this play, but the focus on character drama almost makes this part of the show useless. The play could easily be called Murder in the Restaurant without the intrigue of the locale.   With these types of stories, the setup is so crucial. It’s also one of the most difficult aspects of a show to pull off. Often what distinguishes a well-thought-out production is the time a director takes to make the setup unique while you’re learning about these characters. The audience is slowly or quickly immersed in the play/story. 

Emily Porr, Jessica Taylor Gable, Jason Cook

The play follows the first act with a stronger second.

Acting:

Jessica Taylor Gable, who plays Jacqueline de Severac, is one of the most engaging actors in this play. Gable provides robust performance in each scene. The back and forth between Gable and Lawrence Ingalls (Cannon Pennefather) creates one of the more interesting dynamics in the play. Ingalls’ performance of Pennefather is fantastic and well-executed. Jason Cook, who plays Simon Mostyn, also had a solid performance with energy and a sense of purpose in each interaction he had on stage.

January 18 – February 10, 2019 

Average Show!
Review
7.3 Overall
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Story8
Acting7.5
Set & Design6.5
Costumes8
Entertainment6.5
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