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Review: MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre

Review: MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre

The production runs through February 18th.

All aboard for a night of Agatha Christie-inspired mystery and murder in Dutch Apple's current production of Murder on the Orient Express. This straight play written by Central Pennsylvania's own Ken Ludwig is fun and fast-paced.

The classic story of a snow-bound train, a strange killing, and a cast of even stranger passengers makes for a very enjoyable couple of hours of live entertainment.

At my performance, Craig Smith stepped in as master detective, Hercule Poirot. While there were some expected challenges associated with an understudy filling into a dialogue-heavy lead part, Smith did an effective job of keeping the story moving and exploring the idiosyncrasies of this famous sleuth.

Jordan Ross Weinhold covered the parts usually assigned to Smith including the nasty Samuel Ratchett and the more sympathetic Colonel Arbuthnot. I was confused as to why Weinhold was playing two distinct major roles. I am unsure if the casting decision lies with the playwright or the producers, but it was a weird distraction. As far as I could tell, the choice had nothing to do with the story's plot nor the show's need to utilize an understudy.

Danielle Poznanovic was a stand-out as the obnoxious Helen Hubbard. Poznanovic had great energy and delivered some very funny lines. Her character was more complex than initially expected, and she reveals herself brilliantly along the way.

Scenic designer, Dominic Lau does a good job of suggesting the beauty and grandeur of the elegant setting with a trio of double-sided platformed sleeping/dining cars. Costume designer, John P. White dresses the cast in clothes that are sharp and appealing to the eye.

The technical highlights of the show were the lighting and video effects designed by Chris McCleary. The heavy falling snow and frigid projected background scenery very effectively enhanced the setting's sense of isolation and despair. Bright spotlight and red gels during a number of key moments added genuine chills to some of the show's more intense moments.

In conclusion, this was an engaging show and well-appreciated by the robust audience. I encourage Dutch Apple to continue to step outside the confines of musical comedies from time to time to bring us interesting plays like this.

ON THE TOWN to be Presented by Lebanon Valley Colleges Music Theatre Program in April Photo
Students of Lebanon Valley College's Music Theatre Program present their inaugural class production with ON THE TOWN April 13, 14, and 15 at 7 p.m. and April 16 at 2 p.m.

Revolutionary Speaker Series Presentation Comes to Brandywine Battlefield Park Photo
The Brandywine Battlefield Park Associates will present their next speaker in the Revolutionary Speaker Series at Brandywine Battlefield Park on Saturday, April 15, 2023 from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM. 

Dallastown Area High School Musical Presents LEGALLY BLONDE Photo
Omigosh you guys! This spring Dallastown Area High School’s Musical Theater showcases Legally Blonde, a rousing comedy about Elle Woods, a sorority girl who enrolls at Harvard Law School to win back her ex-boyfriend. 

Bucks County Playhouse Word Of Mouth Storytelling Performances Return In May Photo
Back by popular demand, Bucks County Playhouse’s storytelling series returns this spring and features Gastor Almonte, Stuart Carroll, Ophira Eisenberg, Faye Lane, Michaela Murphy and Abraham Norfleet. WORD OF MOUTH: BUSTED is hosted by Murphy and Eisenberg and will take place on Saturday, May 13 with shows at 2 pm and 7:30 pm.

From This Author - Rich Mehrenberg

Rich Mehrenberg was introduced to the magic of theater when he played "The Boy" in his first grade class production of "The Giving Tree". It has been a long term love affair eve... (read more about this author)

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