Arvada Center Blog

Director’s Note: Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express

Posted by Sarah Kolb on January 30th 2020 to Behind the Scenes

One of my earliest memories at the Arvada Center is of Agatha Christie and murder mysteries. I was twelve-ish and remember little of the plot aside from the haunting image of two spears with a sash strung between them that lowered behind the victims until it entrapped and strangled them. I still remember every detail of that moment!

In my twenties my first paid acting work was performing in murder mysteries, primarily with “’Til Death do us Party” productions in Gold Hill, CO, telling tongue-firmly-in-cheek stories with seven actors to about eighteen guests over a five-course meal, complete with murder and trips to crime scenes, occasionally by candlelight. I worked on my ability to die with my eyes open and failed often.

In my thirties I solo traversed Europe and soon ran out of books for my train travels. I quickly discovered that almost every country’s bookstores had a section in English that always included mystery classics. Rearmed with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Dame Christie, I devoured Hound of the Baskervilles and Murder on the Orient Express by overnight train to Barcelona, trading sleep for the lure of guessing whodunnit?

We are drawn to mysteries in all mediums, plays, films, television, novels and more. I am a self-avowed complete coward when it comes to horror and jump scares, but give me a story of gruesome murder with a complicated plot full of mysterious motivations, and I will drive to that last chapter as if my life depended on it. And my Netflix queue is awash with recommendations for dozens of murder mystery films and series, and I will likely watch all of them.

Matt Gale Photography 2020

But I return again, and again, and again to Agatha Christie. I suspect it is the eclectic company of suspects she pens, the secrets all the characters carry with them, her amazing detectives—the mercurial Poirot a favorite, her use of exotic locations, wit and drama that keeps me coming back. Best of all, I have rarely if ever guessed the ending.

Which brings you here, either to experience this famous case for the first time or to re-visit a favorite tale. And we intend to provide all of the above and in the round to boot. You will meet a cast of suspects each in turn coming face to face with the world’s greatest mustache on the world’s greatest detective. This tale is underscored with a classical soundtrack, staged with a whirling dervish of Art Deco furniture, leaving just enough room for your imagination to fill in the gaps. Expect some brash American warbling, some Scottish haranguing, some fervent Swede, a pinch of flirtatious Hungarian, a judgmental Russian and not one but two Belgians on the case.

Welcome to your ride on the Orient Express. If you are traveling in a first-class compartment, please lock your door. Bon Voyage et dors bien!

— Geoffrey Kent, Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express director

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