Driftwood’s ‘Murder on the Nile’ offers women choice roles

EDMONDS — “Murder on the Nile”: Unlike a lot of Agatha Christie’s mysteries, this one has some beefy female roles.

One in particular is the role of the suspect who is the ex-lover of the groom who just got married.

The ex-lover is being portrayed here by Driftwood Players actress Renee Gilbert, who has the talent to make us sympathize with her even though she is on this cruise boat ruining the groom’s honeymoon, director David Alan Morrison said.

“She’s able to let the audience understand why she’s so angry by the events that has her behaving in this horrible fashion,” Morrison said.

Another of Morrison’s favorite female roles is the “bitchy upstart snobbish aunt who you love to hate,” he said.

“She’s such a snob yet she’s so ridiculous,” Morrison said. “She’s all bark and no bite and you just love to despise her.”

One of Morrison’s favorite male roles in “Murder” is Cannon Pennefather, who is like a priest who allegedly solves the murder but who leaves us wondering if someone else hasn’t solved it.

That’s the thing that makes “Murder on the Nile” such a great story: Its characters are very layered, Morrison said.

“I like this Christie mystery — it’s very character-driven,” he said. “All the characters are extremely different and well-drawn.”

The story takes place aboard a steamer, where honeymooners Simon Mostyn and his wealthy socialite wife, Kay, find themselves pursued by an old flame of the newly wedded groom. Then tragedy strikes — a body is discovered.

Fingers point to Simon’s ex-fiancee. But holidaying cleric Pennefather is drawn into a web of intrigue and deceit as he finds himself on the trail of a ruthless murderer, according to press material.

Morrison also wanted to praise lighting designer Daniel Shih who helped Morrison establish the mood of the 1940s.

Morrison wanted his actors to be more restrained and solid in their movements, losing their 21st century looseness. To achieve this Morrison needed some harsh lighting.

“Shih established some interesting angles and shadows,” Morrison said. “This is not the normal community theater where you just light the stage, so this is interesting and visually appealing.”

“Murder on the Nile” opens at 8 tonight at Driftwood Players theater, 950 Main St., Edmonds. Shows are 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through Sept. 23.

Tickets are $25 and $22.

Call 425-774-9600 or www.driftwoodplayers.com.

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