Theatre Review: Crimes Under the Sun @ Bath Theatre Royal
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‘Crimes Under the Sun’ by New Old Friends is directed by James Farrell and stars Jill Myers, Jonny McClean, Heather Westwell and Feargus Woods Dunlop – a cast of four actors who have to multi-role between them a dramatis personae of fourteen characters. The somewhat farcical pastiche to the period detective fiction of Agatha Christie clearly took some cues from Patrick Barlow’s multiroling melodrama ‘The 39 Steps’ which played the Criterion in London. Highlighting this similarity isn’t a criticism by any means: if a successful and popular production has found a winning formula then why not emulate it? This production is a lot less polished than its West End equivalent. It’s unprofessional, but charming, funny and self-aware of the opportunities its lack of slick polish allow, with a cabaret-like inclination to try out outside-the-box ideas and the mixing of comedic modes which create a lovely evening of eclectic silly fun. Some of these choices may have been hit-or-miss, for example the song and dance recapitulation of the character introductions which was questionable whilst endearing – although that being said, it’s a more interesting way to stage Christie’s typical introduction of the future suspects than other plays would think of and was enjoyable.
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