Reviewed by Cate Norris
As the snow fell down yesterday afternoon (Saturday 17 March 2018), I managed to escape to the sun for a couple of hours. Settling down into a packed auditorium, the stage had been transformed into an English hotel, overlooking the Riviera. But the sun, sea and tranquillity brought less than a relaxing afternoon.
One of the hotel’s guests, lady detective, Artemis Arinae, had chosen to stay at the hotel to rest her ‘grey cells’ and work on her book. It wasn’t long however, before she was back to work, meeting many of the other hotel guests including a priest and a diver. Artemis Arinae’s fine attention to detail couldn’t help but notice that the same name happened to be cropping up in all of her conversations with her fellow guests, and this ‘Mrs Peevy’ seemed to be a lady that rubbed others up the wrong way. Feeling intrigued to meet this bothersome lady herself, she became suspicious on hearing the news that Mrs Peevy had died and was sure that this must have been a murder. But with so many guests with a motive and all with an alibi this may be Arinae’s most difficult case yet.
The company, New Old Friends, are a cast of four, and with the exception of Jill Myers (Artemis Arinae) who was a gripping narrator, the remaining cast are masters of disguise playing more than 10 characters between them. A complicated task you might think, but more than this, it’s a side splittingly funny watch, as the characters begin talking to one another, which in some cases requires the actors to talk to themselves. To achieve this the cast run around the stage in a farcical frenzy to get to where they need to be to do/say what they need to, whilst the audience sits back and laughs at them. What this says about the cast, however, is that they are extremely talented, with several contrasting roles being played and excellent transitioning between accents. Heather Westwell stole the show with her hilarious performance as a trio of coppers.
There was a random sing song mid-way and some ahhhing whenever Crimes Under the Sun was mentioned which to be honest I didn’t get but the rest of the audience appeared to find it highly amusing.
My advice would be to follow this tour @newoldfriends and catch it at a theatre near you. The witty script, innovative performances and comical on stage antics will ensure this show will not disappoint.
For other shows at the Lichfield Garrick visit www.lichfieldgarrick.com or call the box office on 01543 412121.
Lichfield Garrick Theatre, Castle Dyke, Lichfield, WS13 6HR | 01543 412121