Art Beat review: All Aboard Edmonds Driftwood Players ‘Murder on the Orient Express’

L-R: Carol Richmond, Brandon Jepson (standing), Elora Coble, Skye Stafford, David Hayes (standing), Kim Ferse, Brian Harper (standing), Giovanna Cossalter Walters (standing), Karli Reinbold, Thomas A. Glass (standing), Landon Whitbread, (Photos by Dale Sutton of Magic Photography)

Sept. 15 – Oct. 8, Thursdays-Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m.

Wade James Theatre 

950 Main St., Edmonds

Friday night marked the opening of the Edmonds Driftwood Players’ 65th season with Murder on the Orient Express. Ken Ludwig’s clever adaptation of the Agatha Christie classic boasts all the glamor, intrigue and suspense of Dame Agatha’s celebrated novel, with a healthy dose of humor to quicken the pace. Just after midnight, a snowdrift stops the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train is surprisingly full for the time of the year, but by the morning it is one passenger fewer. An American tycoon lies dead in his compartment, stabbed eight times, his door locked from the inside. Isolated and with a killer in their midst, the passengers rely on detective Hercule Poirot to identify the murderer – in case he or she decides to strike again.

David Hayes as Hercule Poirot.

From the moment the sound of a train echoes through the theater at the play opening, audiences will be transported back in time to 1934. Actor David Hayes dons the famous mustache of legendary Christie detective, Hercule Poirot with subtlety and aplomb. Poirot, addressing the audience through the 4th wall at times, acts as narrator to one of his most troubling cases; one that will have the audience guessing and second guessing who possibly could have done it. Each of the crazy cast of characters seems suspicious.

L-R: Elora Coble, Carol Richmond, David Hayes, Karli Reinbold, Giovanna Cossalter Walters, Landon Whitbread.

Every single cast member, many making their Driftwood debuts, was on their A game. The cast lends a much-needed levity to contrast Poirot’s gravitas. From Carol Richmond as Princess Dragomiroff with her sharp one-liners, to Skye Stafford as the cool Countess Andrenyi, every cast member sparkled. Though not a musical, Kim Ferse as the obnoxious Helen Hubbard took it away singing along to the radio in her compartment. (Maybe we’ll be lucky and get her back at Driftwood for a musical). Elora Coble, an 18-year-old high school grad, as the devoutly religious Greta Ohlsson was especially spectacular.

Dialect Coach Grace Helmcke had her work cut out for her, with over 10 different accents represented in the production.

The set design by Bailey Dobbins was clever. The train compartment flips from a train dining car on one side, to a row of bedroom compartments on the other. A screen projecting a snowy backdrop makes it look as though the train is truly careening through the mountains.

L-R: Kim Ferse, Skye Stafford, Karli Reinbold, Landon Whitbread, Carol Richmond, Elora Coble, David Hayes.

Audiences are sure to enjoy their ride aboard the Orient Express.

Directed by David Alan Morrison and featuring the acting talents of David Hayes (Hercule Poirot), Brian Harper (Monsieur Bouc), Karli Reinbold (Mary Debenham), Giovanna Cossalter-Walters (Hector MacQueen), Brandon Jepson (Michel the Conductor), Carol Richmond (Princess Dragomiroff), Elora Coble (Greta Ohlsson), Skye Stafford (Countess Andrenyi), Kim Ferse (Helen Hubbard), Landon Whitbread (Colonel Arbuthnot), and Thomas A. Glass (Samuel Ratchett).

The creative team includes Katie Soulé and Brian Fletcher (co-producers), David Alan Morrison (director), Julie L (Bryan) Benner (stage manager), Paul Fleming (asst. director), Natasha Thompson (asst. stage manager), Topher Wick (asst. producer), Brian Fletcher (scenic/sound designer), Audrey Herold (costume designer), Brent Stainer (lighting designer), Nancy Johnson (properties designer), Grace Helmcke (dialect coach), Brian Fletcher (projection designer), Bailey Dobbins (scenic artist/build supervisor), Rex Goulding (lead carpenter), Chantal Burns (asst. prop. designer), Matt Wesson (video editor), and Joe Knight (videographer).

Tickets: $28 General Adults (ages 19-59); $25 Junior/Senior/Military. Available online or by phone at 425-774-9600. Discounted tickets for groups of 10+ people are also available.

Run time is 2 hours, 15 minutes

Content warning: This play is suitable for ages 12-plus with mild adult language and acts/references to violence.

— By Elizabeth Murray

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