FANS of Hercule Poirot may feel a little cheated to find he plays no part in Murder on the Nile, which opened at the Connaught Theatre in Worthing last night (Monday, February 13).
But Agatha Christie aficionados will know full well that although her 1937 novel Death on the Nile featured the Belgian detective, it was Christie herself who wrote him out of the drama for her 1942 play, Murder on the Nile, replacing him with Canon Pennefather.
Once, like me, you have got over that hurdle, you can settle down to watch a thoroughly enjoyable murder mystery, although it is more than halfway through before anyone is actually murdered.
We have some marvellous stalwarts of theatre here, headed by Kate O’Mara, who received a warm reception as Miss ffoliot-ffoulkes and brought some great comic moments to the evening.
Dennis Lill kept the pace right as the Canon, who was in fact not unlike Poirot in appearance, while younger co-stars like Chloe Newsome, as Jacqueline de Severac, were equal to their elders.
Benefiting from a stunning set, recreating the observation deck of a paddle steamer, the cast held our attention through scenes of love lost and found, intrigue and, of course, murder.
This is another success story for The Agatha Christie Theatre Company, now a regular visitor to the Connaught and whose visits are much looked forward to, if the large opening night audience is anything to go by.
The play runs until Saturday (February 18). Visit www.worthingtheatres.co.uk for more details.
By Elaine Hammond.