Crimes Against Christmas is a comedy thriller for an adult audience. The plot is loosely based around Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None with an apparently random group of people mysteriously invited to a Christmas party on a remote island. Once on the island, the guests start to die in suspiciously Christmassy ways: Pipers whilst piping, Lords whilst leaping, Maids whilst milking – and guest of honour Peter Artridge doesn’t like the look of the rope in the pear tree one bit.
An alternative Christmas show to conventional panto, it features a host of characters brought to life by just four actors, sweeping the audience along with a fast based narrative and enough hints (and red herrings) to have them wondering just who the villain is to the very end. Basically it’s Agatha Christie meets 12 Days of Christmas meets 39 Steps.
New Old Friends are a theatre company dedicated to creating original comedy theatre, founded in 2008 and run by husband and wife team Feargus Woods Dunlop & Heather Westwell. Previous shows include Silly Songs of Shakespeare, Anti-Panto! and Mate. In 2014 & 2015 New Old Friends took their adaptation of Anthony Horowitz’s The Falcon’s Malteser on two national tours and also to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2015, enjoying sell-out shows at the Pleasance and great critical acclaim. During the fringe, after a chance conversation via Twitter, the company met Lichfield Garrick’s artistic director Tim Ford and the collaboration for Crimes Against Christmas began.
Tim Ford, artistic director of the Lichfield Garrick says:
‘We are delighted to be co-producing with New Old Friends this Christmas as we love their work and ethos and feel the partnership is a perfect complement to the work we are trying to develop and create here at Lichfield.’
The show is proudly ‘Made in Lichfield’ with all rehearsals taking place at the Garrick. The company are passionate about regional theatre and are committed to casting local performers where possible. The Lichfield Garrick Theatre is both a receiving and producing house and hosts a wide range of touring UK and International productions. In the last twelve months over 130,000 people have seen performances there. The Lichfield Garrick has produced an annual Christmas production every year since opening. Since 2015, under the artistic directorship of Tim Ford, the venue has started to develop a programme of new work, supporting emerging companies and artists and has developed new relationships with companies with a view to co-produce and tour productions in the future.
Director Craig Sanders studied at Rose Bruford College and has established himself as a director who creates playful, imaginative and strikingly visual theatre. His most recent production, an adaptation of Kafka’s The Trial, was a sell-out success at Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester and Summerhall in Edinburgh this year, winning two prestigious awards for ‘Best Adaptation’ and ‘Best Newcomer’. This production can be seen at HOME theatre, Manchester in January 2017 as part of PUSH. Previous directing work includes shows at Buxton Opera House, Sheffield Theatres, Oldham Coliseum, Southwark Playhouse, Derby Theatre, and The Lowry.
‘Those dark, chilly, wintery evenings present the perfect atmosphere for either some Christmas glitter and sparkle or a really good thriller, and this production gives you the best of both worlds! Unlike most shows this winter, Crimes Against Christmas is for adults only which opens up some brilliant opportunities to be wickedly funny, mildly cheeky and gloriously unsuspecting tomfoolery.’
– Craig on Crimes Against Christmas.
New Old Friends and Lichfield Garrick co-produce Crimes Against Christmas with support from Theatre Royal Bath & Natural Theatre Company and the support of Arts Council England.
@newoldfriends | #CrimesAgainstChristmas | www.newoldfriends.co.uk
Running Time: 90 minutes plus interval | Suitable for ages 14+
9 – 31 Dec 2016 (not 12-14, 19 or 25)
Lichfield Garrick Theatre Castle Dyke, Lichfield WS13 6HR
8pm (4pm matinees – please see website for details)
All tickets £20
www.lichfieldgarrick.com | 01543 412121
3-7 Jan 2017
Theatre Royal Bath’s Ustinov Studio, Theatre Royal Bath, Sawclose, Bath BA1 1ET
8pm (Sat mat 5pm)
www.theatreroyal.org.uk | 01225 448844