Whodunnit? Simon Hale wonders who cares?.
With a director who had worked on the West End production of The 39 Steps and a billing as “hilarious”, Crimes on the Coast promised an entertaining evening.
But New Old Friends theatre company’s attempt to tell an Agatha Christie style murder mystery with four actors playing multiple roles wasn’t a scratch on the Richard Hannay inspired comedy four-hander.
Ashley Christmas played Artemis Arinae – an alternative Hercule Poirot with a Belgian accent – as actor-narrator faced with solving a murder that could have been committed by any of the thieteen guests at the island hotel where she was staying.
The other actors Luca Thompson, Hannah Genesius and Jon Raul Rowden constantly changed into different roles as they built up the motives of their characters, but while their timing was fine the acting itself was all too ponderous.
With the dialogue foundering on a script that was feeble and seemed padded out, it made the long wait to the interval seem interminable.
The few gags were not at all funny and wooden acting was at times almost laughable, leading to a total lack of any sense of sparkle in the show. And the mystery itself was so convoluted and preposterous that by the end of the evening you just didn’t care whodunnit.
The show was written by Feargus Woods Dunlop and directed by James Farrell.
Crimes On The Coast is in performance at The Old Rep Theatre, Birmingham until Saturday, October 5th (Tickets & Information 0121 359 9444/ www.oldreptheatre.co.uk)