Writer: Feargus Woods Dunlop
Director: James Farrell
Following two Christmas runs at the Lichfield Garrick New Old Friends brings their take on other Agatha Christie Classic and it’s a corker!
Set on an isolated island, Artemis Arinae who Jilly Myers plays addresses the audience and reflects on her latest case; Crimes Under the Sun. The rest of the cast consists of Jonny Mclean, Heather Westwell and the writer of the play Feargus Woods Dunlop. Between the cast, they create thirteen other characters. Westwell’s performance as three bibbling bobbies during one scene is particularly farcical.
The first part of the performance focuses mainly on each of the characters and their potential motives, while there are funny moments such as Mclean’s portrayal of a magic-obsessed young boy, it is clear the central element for the start is to set the production up to ensure the performance is a true whodunnit that just happens to be uproariously funny.
Following this section, the belly laughs begin the flow. Woods Dunlop’s script contains plenty of mondegreens, a body being found on a beach went down particularly well. It is clearly both Farrell’s direction, alongside the casts exploration of the text where much of the comedy develops. From scene changes to some creative sandcastles, it is the small moments that make this entertaining throughout.
Hats off (literally) to Carl Davies and his clever stage design which not only rounds the production up with a hysterically comical conclusion but also ensures that all characters are present; even when you have only four actors to play them.
Like all good whodunnits, this keeps you guessing right to the very end. With a plot full of intricate twists, mixed with characters who are well developed and some brilliantly creative physical and verbal comedy Crimes under the Sun is another success to put under New Old Friends’ belt.