Published: Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Emphasis is on the who in this whodunit

REVIEW | By Dale Burrows
For The Weekly Herald
It is the byplay, the interaction between characters, the little giveaways that reveal personality traits.
The Driftwood Players will get in step with top pop TV whodunits when they stage Agatha Christie's “Murder on the Nile” starting Sept. 7. Who did it figures into “NCIS,” “Special Victims” and the like. But human interest keeps people watching.
When asked about his vision for “Murder,” director David Alan Morrison said he wanted it to be “character-centric.”
“I want my audience to be interested more in the people than who did it,” he said.
Penniless Simon (Christian Thomas Ver) and his rich, new wife, Kay (Sarah M. Walsh), go bonkers when Jacqueline (Renee Gilbert) appears on the deck of the paddle steamer they just board for their honeymoon cruise down the Nile.
Simon and Jacqueline were engaged, and Kay and Jacqueline were best friends. Jacqueline introduced Simon to Kay. Jacqueline didn't have any money. Kay had lots. Simon dumped Jacqueline for Kay.
We are talking possible fortune hunter, woman scorned and na´ve newlywed swept off her feet. Greed, guilt, revenge and jealousy are having at it from the get-go.
Strangers are trapped together on a ship with no escape. Murder happens. Fingers point at suspects. Lady Agatha's formula for suspense is operating.
That said, Lady Agatha's claim to fame also is operating. The circus of characters fussing, fuming, strutting, sputtering, spoofing and manipulating is the show of shows to be seen.
Renee Gilbert doing Jacqueline's cold-blooded plan to get even with Simon during the very early and definitely rough run-through I saw some time back sent shivers up and down my spine and made me smile. It also fed my craving to see more.
Indications are this “Murder” will have a human touch you can feel.
Personal note: This preview concludes my writing about theater for The Weekly Herald. It has been my sincere pleasure to do what I can for theater in King and Snohomish counties. Reactions? Comments? Email Dale Burrows at
'Murder on the Nile'
WHEN: Sept. 7-23
WHERE: Wade James Theatre, 950 Main St., Edmonds
TICKETS: $25 general; $22 under 18, seniors and military; available at or 425-774-9600