All Aboard! Theatre Group at SBCC takes audience on murder mystery

The Channels Art Pages | CRITICAL REVIEW

Cast+members+rehearse+for+The+Theatre+Group+production+of+Agatha+Christie%E2%80%99s+%E2%80%9CMurder+on+The+Orient+Express%2C%E2%80%9D+adapted+for+the+stage+by+Ken+Ludwig+and+directed+by+Katie+Laris+at+City+College+in+Santa+Barbara%2C+Calif.+The+production+is+showing+from+March+2-19%2C+2022+at+City+College%E2%80%99s+Garvin+Theatre.

Cast members rehearse for The Theatre Group production of Agatha Christie’s “Murder on The Orient Express,” adapted for the stage by Ken Ludwig and directed by Katie Laris at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif. The production is showing from March 2-19, 2022 at City College’s Garvin Theatre.

Sydney Hammer, Staff Writer

On Thursday, March 10 at 7:30 p.m., an audience filled the seats of the Garvin Theater at City College to watch The Theatre Group at SBCC present, “Murder on the Orient Express.”

The group performed Ken Ludwig’s adaptation of the classic novel by Agatha Christie. 

Before the actors arrived on stage, there was a short film about a little girl who gets kidnapped, which later ties into the end of the story. The film was made by the group, which gave the audience a preview of the talent they would see throughout the night. 

The show was directed by Katie Laris, who did a wonderful job portraying the 1930s time era of the play through magnificent sets, intricate costumes, and fantastic casting. 

The play follows the story of a group of people aboard the “Orient Express” who discover a murder aboard, the audience was kept entertained and intrigued. 

Although the show focuses on the horrific idea of a character being murdered and the journey to figure out who committed the murder, each character kept the story light with humor. 

The actors stood out in their own way while really bringing their characters to life. Dramatic facial expressions, accents, and interactions helped the audience feel as if what they were witnessing was happening in real life.  

Matthew Tavianini and Tiffany Story rehearse for The Theatre Group at SBCC’s production of Agatha Christie’s “Murder on The Orient Express,” adapted for the stage by Ken Ludwig and directed by Katie Laris at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif. The production is showing from March 2-19, 2022 at City College’s Garvin Theatre.
Matthew Tavianini and Tiffany Story rehearse for The Theatre Group at SBCC’s production of Agatha Christie’s “Murder on The Orient Express,” adapted for the stage by Ken Ludwig and directed by Katie Laris at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif. The production is showing from March 2-19, 2022 at City College’s Garvin Theatre.

Helen Hubbard, played by Tiffany Story, was definitely a fan favorite throughout the night. Every time she came on stage the audience lit up with laughter because of the absolute nonsense and humor her character brought. 

While the accents were needed to understand the essence of the story and the differences between the characters, they were a bit difficult to understand and hear at times. However, the play wouldn’t have been the same without the accents. 

What really made the show so entertaining was the magnificence of the set. Each set presented had great detail adding to the time era of the story, with the use of props that went along perfectly with the situations handled. 

The “Orient Express” actually moved across the stage as a train would, while graphics played on screens behind the stage and subtle music was heard throughout the show. 

The director utilized lighting to her benefit, creating a tense and dramatic atmosphere across the stage and through the theater. 

Clips of flashbacks and storms played on the screens in the background tied the story together and kept the audience on their toes. 

Laris’s brilliance in casting the characters made me realize how perfectly each actor fit their role and how the play wouldn’t have been the same if any actor was cast differently in the show. 

The best part of the night was experiencing how much fun the actors seemed to be having on stage, doing what they love. 

“Murder on the Orient Express” will be playing at the Garvin Theater at City College until March 19. 

Tickets can be purchased for $14-$26 on the Theatre Group’s website or at the box office on West Campus at the Garvin Theater.