Crimes Under the Sun, New Old Friends at Bath Ustinov Studio and touring

BATH-based theatre company New Old Friends is heading out on a lengthy tour with the new comedy murder mystery Crimes Under the Sun, and it starts at the Ustinov Studio.

Written by company founder Feargus Woods Dunlop, it is set on a sun-soaked island off the English riviera, where famous Belgian detective Artemis Arinae is attempting to complete her memoirs of famous cases she ’as seulved.

But her fellow guests at the hotel run by the frankly peculiar Alcazar include an American free diver, her arch rival the former actress and now gold medal winning diver  Abigail Peavy with her husband the gallant Major and his son, the even-more-peculiar Lucien, a hy­po­­chondriac cartographer, a shy might-have-been heiress and her ghastly bragging drunken lascivious fiance, and a new waitress.

It’s not long before our heroine’s little grey cells are engaged in discovering who killed Abigail Peavy, found dead on the beach and rapidly refrigerated.

And then of course there are the police.

Crimes Under the Sun cleverly incorporates not only references to famous sleuthing heroes, but to the male-female pay divide, the lack of jobs for women and even the unusual talents of the current POTUS.

The cast, Jill Myers as Artemis and Jonny McClean, Heather Westwell and Feargus Woods Dunlop as everyone else, throw themselves into the fun with consummate skill and incredible speed. The trio of policemen is jaw-droppingly clever, and there are moments of achingly funny business and cleverly prepared punchlines.

It’s a joy, so tell your friends.

See it at Bath until 24th February, and the tour returns to the south and west on 13th March at Swindon Arts Centre, at Winchester Theatre Royal  on 23rd  and 24th March, Dorchester Arts at the Corn Exchange on 7th and 8th April, Taunton Tacchi-Morris on 12th April and at the Salberg Studio at Salisbury Playhouse from 10th to 12th May.


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