Writer: Feargus Woods Dunlop
Director: Nel Crouch
The Lichfield Garrick once more brings New Old Friends back to their studio this Christmas with their latest episode in their festive Crimes on series. Some say that threes a crowd but that’s certainly not the case for this, which is a great evening of laugh out loud comedy.
Feargus Woods Dunlop once more writes the piece. His ability to take an Agatha Cristie story, tear it apart and create something gripping but hilarious is delightfully entertaining. Woods Dunlop manages to pace the comedy well enough so it builds up to it’s a farcical conclusion while ensuring that important plot areas are enhanced and that there’s plenty of comedy throughout to keep the laughs flowing.
The script is only one piece of the puzzle that makes this festive comedy. Director Nel Crouch ensures no opportunity is missed. The scene changes are as much part of the production as is the cleaning up of the stage in the interval which is well worth returning to your seats hastily for. Crouch masterfully creates some great moments, particularly a journey across the globe featuring a train, a plane and even a parachute. Although this is the first time Crouch has directed for New Old Friends, she has kept the successful formula that has been used before.
Jill Myers returns as detective Artemis Arinae and is the only person to remain as one character throughout. The rest of the cast have to use only the simplest of costume changes and characteristics to help tell the tale of the variety of characters they portray each. It’s no easy feat, particularly towards the end when the characters end up popping up in the same scene but Steven Rostance, Oliver Malam and Laura Crowhurst all pull it off marvellously to great effect.
Featuring a few hints of productions gone by, clearly crafted characters, some winks to current issues like Russian hacking and of course Brexit this production is genius. The conclusion of the piece may not be the most surprising, but this Christmas feast of comedy is a hugely enjoyable couple of hours for the adults wanting to escape the chaos of Christmas.
*Decision based on a ticket price of £20 + £1 Booking Fee. For more info on this new value for money rating please visit here: Introducing a new kind of rating