Reviewed by Nigel Chester
It is always a pleasure to spend an evening at the Lichfield Garrick. It’s well served with two fabulous bars and the food is delicious and reasonably priced. For me, a bonus was that there are gluten free options available. So, well fed and watered, we took our seats which are roomy, visibility is good wherever you choose to sit. No peering round pillars at the Garrick. With a near capacity audience we settled down to enjoy two fantastic hours of comedy brought to us by the New Old Friends theatre company; first established in 2008 by Feargus Woods Dunlop and his wife Heather Westwell who both wrote, produced and star in this chaotic cruise; between them playing eight roles. With the stage so crowded you wouldn’t think it possible to accommodate another five people, Kirsty Cox portraying the super sleuth Artemis Arinae and Fergus Leathem.
Crimes on the Nile is set on a river cruise boat in the 1930’s. We start with the announcement that Aurora Lightly is dead. Time literally rewinds to allow us to witness the build up to this terrible murder. Well it would be terrible if it didn’t cause such hilarity along the way. This is comic genius every word carefully placed with such gay abandon. Each character is unique and full formed and even though some resemble others it is purely coincidental. The audience were on board from the start and as the evening progressed, we laughed more and more. But the is a murder mystery that Agatha Christie would have been proud to have written. We were transported along the Nile and witness all the sights that Egypt had to offer. A particular highlight of our two-hour cruise was the camel race.
The apparent ease of this comedy does hide the complexity of production, the set is fantastic and such simple props become dangerous in the hands of New Old Friends. I now fear being eaten by my suitcase.
This is good old-fashioned fun, as slick as any Nile crocodile and I for one cannot wait for Artemis Arinae’s next outing.
Tickets cost from £19-£24 (booking fees may apply).
Crimes on the Nile is at the Lichfield Garrick from 21-23 March 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.lichfieldgarrick.com or call the box office on 01543 412121.
Lichfield Garrick Theatre, Castle Dyke, Lichfield, WS13 6HR | 01543 412121