Review Roundup: MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS at Asolo Rep - What Did the Critics Think?

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Review Roundup: MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS at Asolo Rep - What Did the Critics Think?

Asolo Rep kicks off its winter repertory season with Agatha Christie's MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS. The classic edge-of-your-seat murder mystery will be brought to the stage with a new adaptation by two-time Tony Award-winning master of farce Ken Ludwig and directed by Asolo Rep Associate Artist Peter Amster.

MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS runs in rotating repertory through March 8 in the Mertz Theatre, located in the FSU Center for the Performing Arts.

Let's see what the critics are saying...

Jay Handelman, Herald Tribune: Ludwig injects a lighthearted, slightly tongue-in-cheek touch into the script that Amster and his cast build on, sometimes too much so. It occasionally seems they're winking at us as their eyes grow exceedingly wide and their eyebrows arched higher than usual at each new revelation. And it is fun, to a point, and the broad style didn't stop me from enjoying many of the performances. I laughed along with Tina Stafford's portrayal of overly talkative Minnesotan Helen Hubbard, who gets so caught up in the clackety-clack of the moving train she starts singing "Lullaby of Broadway" to the irritation of the other passengers. (Kudos to sound designer Matt Parker.)

Kay Kipling, Sarasota Magazine: On the plus side, Paul Tate dePoo III's set design, which swings about smoothly to show us the train's stylish Art Deco-y exterior and plush interiors, and Tracy Dorman's costumes, carefully attuned to their wearers' stations in life, are a pleasure to look at. And Greg Emetaz's projection designs help establish, among other things, that snowstorm that strands the train in the wilderness. But if we are really paying so much attention to how the production looks, it's partly because in Ludwig's hands the story itself is only intermittently entertaining and not nearly as compelling as it can be. There will be audience members who thoroughly enjoy the show's comic emphasis, I know; for me, it made the evening a bumpy ride.

William S. Oser, Talkin' Broadway: The cast is an ensemble except for James DeVita as Poirot. To my imagination, DeVita is the perfect Belgian detective as envisioned by Ms. Christie: small in stature; able to appear a bit bookish; brilliant without the trappings of that status. Other standouts include David Breitbarth as railroad manager Monsieur Bouc, Peggy Roeder as Princess Dragomiroff, Tina Stafford as Midwesterner Helen Hubbard, and Diana Coates as Countess Andrenyi, although everyone is almost equally fine in their roles. Joe Ferrarelli, Michael Judah and Brian Ritchie are third-year Asolo Conservatory students featured in minor roles. Director Peter Amster is best known for comedy, and the tight ensemble-playing is a testament to his skills. I doubt this production of could be thought of as high art, but it sure is a heck of a fun ride on the fabled train. Get your tickets now, because when word of mouth hits the streets they are going to be hard to come by.

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