Murder, mystery and mayhem at Trinity Theatre

Queer Eye is an uplifting, postivie show that we recommend streaming on Netflix

Fred Latty checks out the latest TTC production of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Nile

When you go to see an Agatha Christie play, it’s safe to say that you generally know what you’re going to get. The twists, turns, shocks, horrors, gulps and gasps are all part of the appeal, as no end of smoking guns and red herrings litter the narrative of any tale woven by the first lady of murder mysteries.

So, it’s with no shortage of glee and giddy nostalgia that I arrive at Trinity Theatre in Tunbridge Wells to see Murder on the Nile, the most recent staging from amateur theatre company Trinity Theatre Club. With past productions including Arthur Miller’s The Crucible and Anthony Shaffer’s Sleuth, TTC is certainly no stranger to bringing quality literary material to life onstage.

Christie’s adaptation of her own novel, Death on the Nile, is set aboard the Lotus, an Egyptian cruise ship making its way across the famous African river between Shellal and Wadi Halfa. This classic whodunit follows the passengers surrounding the murder of beautiful young heiress Kay Ridgeway (Bizz Portlock), whose demise leads to a labyrinthine plot of deception, lust and greed, where anyone could be the culprit, and no one is who they appear to be.

The action onstage is confined to the observation saloon of the Lotus, where the drama unfolds over a number of days. The paddle steamer’s deck is of course a focal point throughout, the set well-built and its space used to full effect, while perfectly capturing the claustrophobia that comes as a mainstay of any Christie romp.

As for the cast, Neil Harris gives perhaps the strongest performance as Canon Pennefather, Kay’s legal guardian and the closest thing to a Poirot on show. Nick Wray likewise excels as Kay’s fianc� Simon, while the supporting cast’s array of accents, costumes and increasingly suspicious hypotheses are all great fun, the actors slipping into their roles and embracing the genre wholeheartedly.

This is one of those plays that’s full of sparkling costumes, elaborate storylines, passionate embraces and longing glances out to sea. At times a touch on the farcical side, the production is packed with plenty of intrigue and suspense, but remains tongue-in-cheek enough not to take itself too seriously. And while the action may be a little slow for some to begin with, the pace picks up by the end of the first act and beyond.

Ultimately, Murder on the Nile is well worth a watch and just the thing to whisk you away to an exotic world of glamour, love, money and murder. For fans of Christie, Marple, Poirot et al, it’s a welcome addition to the murder mystery stage canon, and one that will leave you wanting to root out your old boxsets and binge-watch away to your heart’s content.

Murder on the Nile is playing now and runs until Saturday March 3 at Trinity Theatre. To find out more and book tickets, head to

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