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Irving Stage Company take to the stage with Agatha Christie classic Murder on the Nile at Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds





Review: Murder on the Nile, Irving Stage Company, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, until Saturday

Money, murder, mystery, passion, an exotic location and a faulty gun – Agatha Christie wrote it all into classic Murder on the Nile. All apart from the faulty gun that is – but more on that later.

On Tuesday, Irving Stage Company members took to the stage for opening night of their latest sumptuous production.

Irving Stage Company take to the Theatre Royal stage with Murder on the Nile. Picture: Andy Abbott/Abbott Photography
Irving Stage Company take to the Theatre Royal stage with Murder on the Nile. Picture: Andy Abbott/Abbott Photography

The audience was greeted with an eye-catching set – including the occasional puff of steam from the cruise ship's funnel – already on stage, meaning expectations were high.

And we were not disappointed.

From Craig Fisher's well-pitched Egyptian bead-seller to Katie Woodhouse's glamorous yet believable Kay Ridgeway, the talented cast ensured we were in safe hands.

Irving Stage Company take to the Theatre Royal stage with Murder on the Nile. Picture: Andy Abbott/Abbott Photography
Irving Stage Company take to the Theatre Royal stage with Murder on the Nile. Picture: Andy Abbott/Abbott Photography

Stuart Mclellan, as detective Canon Pennefather, displayed fantastic stage presence and gravitas as he evaluated each character and later commanded the murder investigation, meanwhile Jess Hughes – as downtrodden Christina Grant – lit up the stage with every entrance.

Strong support throughout came in the form of Rachel Gee, Ash Seaborne, Kat Wilson, Aaron Weight, Alice Sheepshanks and James Clark.

If the 11-strong cast felt any first night nerves they were not evident, with all demonstrating total confidence delivering a breathtaking volume of dialogue.

In fact, the only mishap of the evening came when the murder weapon failed to fire and a few cast giggles interrupted the suspense, but within seconds leading man Seb Ranson, charismatically playing smooth gold-digger Simon Mostyn, skillfully pulled the drama back on course as we sailed towards the end of act one.

Irving Stage Company take to the Theatre Royal stage with Murder on the Nile. Picture: Andy Abbott/Abbott Photography
Irving Stage Company take to the Theatre Royal stage with Murder on the Nile. Picture: Andy Abbott/Abbott Photography

Murder on the Nile runs until Saturday – tickets are still available at www.theatreroyal.org

Act two saw more drama, intrigue and another gunshot – the weapon worked this time – as the drama intensified.

Without giving anything away, by the end of the saga Canon Pennefather had deftly unfurled the mystery and the perpetrator was led off the boat to the waiting Egyptian police.

Director Christian Jenner has ensured audiences can enjoy a thoroughly entertaining cruise down the Nile. Highly recommended.