That darned Agatha Christie has been at it again. In her play, Murder on the Nile, she leads you down blind alleys to stop you guessing whodunit. After seven years, the Agatha Christie Theatre Company know Christie’s mind so well they conspire towards that surprise ending by playing each part poker-faced.
Some interesting characters emerge in this play set on a Nile paddle steamer. No. 1 has to be Kate O’Mara’s Miss Ffoliot-Ffoulkes whose name matches her snooty attitude towards those she considers lesser mortals - practically everyone. She’s particularly amusing when inebriated.
The principal murder victim is Kay Mostyn (Susie Amy) new, wealthy wife of Simon Mostyn (Ben Nealon) though, to shut her up, her maid, Louise de Valoir (Vanessa Morley) also cops it. The honeymooners are pursued by Simon’s ex, Jacqueline de Severac (Chloe Newsome) who, in a well-acted display of temper, seemingly shoots Simon in the leg. To lesser mortals she is the obvious suspect – but, with Christie, lesser mortals are seldom right!
The sleuth who unravels the mystery is a parson, Canon Pennefather (Denis Lill) who works out who the culprit is and reveals them in a fine monologue. All of this double crossing and wrong footing is superbly conveyed against Simon Scullion's superb design for a two deck boat with bar.
The cast on the Lowry’s first night seem slightly flat and one or two jokes don’t register but they do make you think. Overall, this is a rolickingly good night out and you’ll kick yourself on the way out for not pinpointing the miscreant.