Reviewed by Nigel Chester
Sometimes it can be good to just stop. At this time of year with Christmas just two weeks away, I felt what better time to sit down and be entertained by the wonderful theatre company New Old Friends that was founded over a decade ago by the now husband and wife team Feargus Woods Dunlop and Heather Westwell. The Lichfield Garrick Theatre is a great venue but I had never been fortunate enough before to see a production in the studio, it is an intimate space with the stage being below the tiered seats, it does however seat in excess of 150 people; So, for our Christmas entertainment what could have been better then Crimes of the Christmas Pudding.
This is a very clever production centred around the Belgian super sleuth Artemis Arinae, she did however remind me of our very own Miss Marple – refined dignified and diligent, played by Jill Myers, she was the only member of the company who did not take on multiple roles, the remaining cast of three took multitasking to a whole new level they managed to create over a dozen people and at one point seven of them appeared on the stage at once. This was Christmas magic, it was as billed, murderous mayhem and mystery but it was so much more it was genius, laugh out loud funny and had all the comic timing of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton but this wasn’t slapstick it was tightly scripted and had a plot to keep you guessing ‘whodunnit’ it would be easy to point the finger at the butler but he was too busy trying to remember where he had been, to stand still long enough for a pointing finger to stick.
Real jam was used to put our rich country house set in a sticky situation. There was all the innuendo and aside that every pantomime employs but this was frantic fabulous fun, aimed at an adult audience, it was fast paced and the sets though minimal, took us on trains, boats and planes and to everyone’s delight, Artemis arrived for a traditional country house Christmas, courtesy of Santa’s reindeer.
If you enjoy theatre and are looking for festive fun without small children, then look no further than the Crimes of the Christmas Pudding, it’s on fire at the Garrick.
Tickets cost from £20 to £22 (booking fees may apply).
Crimes of the Christmas Pudding is at the Lichfield Garrick from 5 December 2018 to 5 January 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.lichfieldgarrick.com or call the box office on 01543 412121.
Lichfield Garrick Theatre, Castle Dyke, Lichfield, WS13 6HR | 01543 412121