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BWW Review: Hale Centre Theatre's MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS is Thrilling


MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS plays through November 14, 2020.

BWW Review: Hale Centre Theatre's MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS is Thrilling

Agatha Christie's MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS on Hale Centre Theatre's Jewel Box Stage is superbly thrilling and well crafted, thanks to the writing, direction, acting, and use of a set that is stunning in its opulence and realistic detail.

MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS by Ken Ludwig, adapted from the favorite novel by Agatha Christie, is a murder mystery set on the fabled Orient Express train in the 1930s. When famed detective Hercule Poirot, who is fortuitously on board, sets out to discover the perpetrator of a passenger's murder, he unravels a web of strange connections, coincidences, and circumstances.

Director Barta Heiner coaxed uniformly excellent performances from the entire cast and smoothly engineered a production driven by thoughtful, compelling staging.

Bradley Moss leads the cast as Hercule Poirot (double cast with Mark Knowles) with Chandler Bishop as Monsieur Bouc (double cast with BJ Whimpey) strongly at his side.

Linda Jean Stephenson as Princess Dragomiroff (double cast with Heidi Scott) and Adrien Swenson as Greta Ohlsson (double cast with Wendy Oltmanns) are an impressive pair, matched by Sharon Kenison as Helen Hubbard (double cast with Tamari Dunbar) and Kaitlyn Hipwell LeBaron as Countess Andrenyi (double cast with Natalie Peterson).

They are joined by Colton Hattabaugh as Hector MacQueen (double cast with Zechariah Combs), Jessica Love as Mary Debenham (double cast with Lisa Zimmerman), Brandon Green as Samuel Ratchett/Colonel James Arbuthnot (double cast with Kelton Davis), and Anthony Lovato as Michel/Head Waiter (double cast with James Bounous)

Even with the brilliant direction and performances, the scenic design by Madeline Ashton is the real star of the production. Simulating a full-scale railway car, including the exterior and both public and private areas of the interior, the set rotates to simulate train movement and facilitate fluid transitions, including wonderful fleeting glimpses of characters traversing a narrow hallway.

Also impressive are the extensive work of dialect coach Peter Lambert and period costume design by Joy Zhu with original costume concept design by Kelsey Nichols, hair and makeup design by Trisha Ison, and properties design by Michelle Jensen. The unique demands of the production are met skillfully by lighting designer Marianne Ohran, video and projection designer Bobby Gibson, and sound designer Dan Morgan.

Although audience members sit shoulder to shoulder without reduced capacity, the theatre is complying with all state and local government mandates for gatherings including a strict requirement for all audience members to be masked at all times. Other policies include rigorous testing and screening for actors and other employees, contact tracing, hand sanitizing stations and frequent disinfecting of surfaces, social distancing markers, and no paper programs or concessions. The theatre's COVID-19 Safety Guide can be found at

MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS plays through November 14, 2020. For tickets, call the box office at 801-984-9000 or visit

Photo Credit: Hale Centre Theatre.

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