Crimes on the Nile
Theatre Royal Windsor
Until Saturday April 27
Gunshot, torchlight, disembodied heads, Crimes on the Nile begins with murder and confusion.
Rich newlywed Aurora Lightly has been shot, while on a luxury liner.
But as the lights go on, and this lighthearted mystery unfolds, we learn she is ‘as fortunate in death as in life’ – the great detective Artemis Arinae is on board and will bring the murderer to justice.
Artemis, an affectionate amalgamation of Hercule Poirot and Mrs Marple (with a spoonful of Sherlock Holmes) had embarked on the cruise to rest her ‘little grey cells’.
The victim was on honeymoon with her nice-but-desperately-dim husband Henry, followed by his former fiancée Luna Campbell.
There is also simpering Doctor Hans Reichman, Aurora’s affable lawyer Kirk McMiller, her maid Mimi, American heir Marty Montgonery Junior and a blowsy author named Temperance travelling with her ever-embarrassed son Colossus. Not to mention a boozy captain and his longsuffering steward brought to vivid life by New Old Friends theatre company.
Clever jokes and visual gags come thick and fast with the four actors playing multiple characters.
The set is worked hard too, a travel trunk becomes a pyramid at one point, a pile of cases make the Sphinx. And the denouement where the actors ran to their identifying props – a hat here a plaster cast there – was just superb.
Hats off – and on again swiftly – to fab four Feargus Woods Dunlop (who wrote the show), Heather Westwell, Fergus Leathem and Kirsty Cox. Your grey cells will fizz...