Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford – 8th and 9th September 2021
Reviewed by Antonia Hebbert
Bang! (That was a gunshot.) A glamorous newlywed has been murdered on her honeymoon cruise on the Nile. Who did it? Her ex-best friend? Her husband? Or someone else entirely from the eccentric passengers and crew? Not to worry – top detective Artemis Arinae is on hand to solve the mystery with the help of her leetle grey cells.
This is an Agatha Christie spoof with a cast of eleven (I think), but is played by just four actors, with very few props. The best moments are when they are stretched to the limit to keep the illusion of lots of characters. There’s a nicely choreographed tour of the pyramids and Sphinx, followed by a crocodile attack, mostly done with suitcases. There’s a camel race and much opening and closing of doors to reveal surprising people. And there was a lot of fun in the scene where Artemis Arinae got everyone together to explain whodunnit, requiring the cast to dash around changing hats, voices and mannerisms.
All very ingenious and entertaining, but for me the show didn’t quite lift off. There was a bit too much reliance on people drinking too much, which doesn’t seem all that funny these days. The innuendo seemed overdone too, though in a surprising change of tone, the relationship that developed between the steward and the American became genuinely sweet and snigger free.
Crimes in Egypt is directed by James Farrell, and is a production by New Old Friends, founded by Feargus Woods Dunlop to take shows round the country and entertain as many people as possible. They seem a jolly lot, and you can follow them in all the usual social media places.