IF YOU GO
• What: “Murder on the Nile”
• When: Dinner at 6:30 p.m., show at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, show only 8 p.m. Thursdays, 2 p.m. Sundays
• Where: New Dawn Theater, 3087 Main St., Duluth
• Cost: $12 to $25
• For more information: Visit www.newdawntheate...>
DULUTH -- Murders, mysteries, clues and interrogations can make for one exciting evening, especially when there is food involved. Friday until the beginning of May, New Dawn Theater presents Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Nile," a dinner theater event with food from Opa! Gyros and Kabob, plus beer and wine from Best of Brews.
"It's fun to get back into Agatha Christie again," director and avid Christie fan Sherry Ingbritsen said. "I wanted something that was different on the set, something that is not typical that we have done because we try to do shows that aren't really 'out there' (popular). It has a cool plot, lots of action on the set and it's one of those that it's hard to figure out who did it."
And she's not kidding about the finding the killer. There are a total of nine characters/guests upon the Lotus, a boat traveling down the Nile River for a short vacation -- and these personalities run the gamut.
Miss Ffolliot-Ffoulkes (played by Marla Krohn) is a prim and proper British woman who only associates herself with people of stature and wealth and has brought her niece Christina Grant (Beth Peters and Nicole Ojeda-Johns share the part on different nights) along for the journey. Ffolliot-Ffoulkes expects Grant to serve her hand and foot because they're family.
Soon after those two board the ship, millionaire heiress Kay Mostyn (Becca Parker) and her new husband Simon (Mike Yow) come aboard with their servant Louise (Michelle Saarela). Then the audience gets to meet the rest of the cast as they enter the stage: average passenger Smith (Jay Croft), educated Dr. Bessner (Eric Arvidson), Kay's godfather and clergyman Canon Pennefather (John Laszlo), and Kay's ex-best friend and Simon's ex-fiancee Jacqueline De Severac (Samaria Muhammad).
Needless to say, Jacqueline is following Kay and Simon to create chaos and she becomes a handful for everyone on board the ship because she wants her man back -- no matter what the cost.
"She's really passionate; I think that's what we have in common," Muhammad said about her character. "She's very into her cause and won't let anyone tell her she's wrong and she's going to follow her dreams. That's something that -- in a sense -- I admire because I'm trying to make myself that way."
There are twists and turns in the Christie plot confusing the audience while they try to figure out what's going on between the complex characters.
In the second act, two people are killed and another wounded. It's up to those on ship to find the killer and fast.
As the play ends, the audience may wonder what the underlying message is for the story and each cast member has a different thought about it.
"There is a battle between good and evil and in this case, good is pretty much over-matched by the forces of evil which are concealed and too late revealed to what they really are," Laszlo said about the theme of the play. "Maybe the sobering message is the struggle between good and evil is perpetual and it's a toss-up who's going to win."
Muhammad believes it is about love rather than good and evil.
"It's a sort of dark romantic story," she said. "I think that it shows how far one will go if you're deeply in love. I think the play does a really good job showing how strong love can be, whether it's healthy or unhealthy love."
And director Ingbritsen thought something completely different. She wants the audience to walk away with a more realistic message.
"You want (the audience) to think about that life is too short," she said. "If you head one direction and it doesn't work out like you expected, just move on -- there's much more out there. If you dwell on things that are out of your reach, bad things happen."
The play runs through May 6.