High Praise for David O’Connor, Director of MURDER ON THE NILE at Hedgerow

by Lila Achuff

There are two things I’d like to share with you, readers, before I begin. One, my knowledge of Agatha Christie and her writings is very limited, I’m almost ashamed to say, or I’m simply forgetting what I’ve read or seen pertaining to her expansive literary career. Two, I haven’t been to Hedgerow in a rather long time. Whatever I saw there before, I recall simply not being impressed. Having said that, I’m moving forward and I shall put all that behind me.

Zoran Kovcic and Aphrodite Nikolovitch are featured in MURDER ON THE NILE at Hedgerow Theatre. (Photo by Rick Prieur)

I try to delve a little into the history of a show that I see, for my own curiosity, and to share this information with anyone who also could benefit from it. Perhaps this would enhance our perspective of what we’re seeing. So … Agatha Christie (1890 – 1976), a British crime writer, is most famous for her 80 detective novels. (Remember the film Murder on the Orient Express (1974), based on her 1934 novel?) Back to Murder … The original novel was entitled Death on the Nile (1937) and made into a successful film in 1978. Murder on the Nile (1944) is the play she adapted from her novel. It was presented as a one-hour play in 1950 on Kraft Television Theatre (Remember that? I don’t … really … I came from Canada in 1955 and we, in our home there, didn’t have a TV then.) Her literary accomplishments were also adapted to radio, something we listened to before TV came along. One more thing – Dame Agatha Christie was awarded that title in Britain (1971) for the literary career that has made her extremely popular over the years.

The whodunit mystery, MURDER ON THE NILE, takes place on the observation deck of the Lotus on the Nile in 1946. We are privy to a slice of life in this setting where the guests, each with his or her own dramatic personality really personify reality, as far as I’m concerned. (I’d love to know which characters audience members can personally relate to.) Without giving anything away, all the travelers eventually come together as a result of a murder. Meanwhile, in the words of the Director, “… they are all running from one thing and towards something new.” Isn’t that just life itself? We’re all moving from one thing (or place or person) to another. While we’re being entertained with what’s happening on stage, we’re in our seats relating, feeling and even understanding. By the way, if the acting wasn’t as right on as it was, we in the audience wouldn’t even be caring; we’d probably be dozing. Wake me when it’s over, sweetie.

Miss ffoliot-ffoulkes (Susan Wefel), you were truly annoying, but very funny! In fact, there were quite a few amusing lines in the play but this audience was rather serious (maybe there was too much relating going on). And it takes a lot to get me to laugh! Jackie (Jacqueline de Severac), you gave a WOW performance but with a name as different as Aphrodite (love it) Nikolovski, how could you miss? Well, you could have, but you didn’t. I won’t go into each outstanding performance, but, trust me, readers, try not to miss this play. It’s worth going just to experience Hedgerow, a long-standing building with a reputation to match.

The sound effects were convincing but, for me, something was lacking with the set as I didn’t get a feeling of water “out there”. Maybe a backdrop of the river might have done it for me. It’s all about bringing things to life as much as possible.

David O’Connor, thank you for providing a night of enjoyment that I didn’t expect. Usually I’m more into musicals than mysteries. You’ve peaked my interest in the writings of Agatha Christie; I hit Netflix already for more. I’m relating to the character of Christina (Rachel Holmes). Maybe even Miss ff-ff. Yikes! How ‘bout you all? Makes for an interesting discussion.

Till the next show…

by Agatha Christie
Directed by David O’Connor
October 14 – November 21, 2010
Hedgerow Theatre
64 Rose Valley Road
Rose Valley, PA

You may also like

Leave a Reply