If you like Gustav Mahler, Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Sergei Rachmaninov, Gioachino Rossini, Josef Haydn, and J.S. Bach, it’s all the more reason for you to catch Ken Ludwig’s adaptation of the iconic whodunit Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie before its season ends at the Everyman Theatre on Sunday. Interspersed with music of the period (including a high spirited Charleston) are a couple of excerpts from Mahler’s 1st and 5th symphonies; Rachmaninov’s piano transcription of The Flight of the Bumblebee by Rimsky-Korsakov; the overture to Rossini’s opera, The Thieving Magpie; part of Haydn’s string quartet nicknamed “The Fifths”; and selections from two of Bach’s six cello suites.
Director, Vincent Lancisi, tells me that many of these classical music bridges in the play were the suggestion of Ken Ludwig himself, and they certainly add a touch of class to an already classy production, with its ingenious staging suggesting the steam train stranded in a raging snow storm. One of the joys of an Everyman production is always the ensemble playing of its rep company, and this is no exception, with Bruce Nelson giving a standout performance as Hercule Poirot (did we mention he’s Belgian, not French?!), imbuing the character with a kind of quiet, intense restraint that I found quite mesmerizing. This is really hearing stylish theatre at its best!
Tags:Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express; Everyman Theatre