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Long Beach Playhouse delivers engaging mystery with ‘Murder on the Orient Express’

Eric Schiffer (center) as Hercule Poirot in Long Beach Playhouse's "Murder on the Orient Express" (Photo by Mike Hardy)

How do you put a passenger train car in the middle of the Long Beach Playhouse (LBPH) Mainstage Theatre? With video projection, clever staging and a tightly orchestrated ensemble cast. All of those factors also conspire to make LBPH’s production of Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express” a well-paced, engaging mystery.

Adapted for the stage by Ken Ludwig and expertly directed by James Rice, “Murder on the Orient Express” finds famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot boarding a luxury liner in Istanbul with several other colorful characters. A snowstorm in Yugoslavia stalls the train and one of its passengers is fatally stabbed, leaving Poirot to figure out who did it—and why.

The story begins at the Istanbul train-station restaurant where Poirot (Eric Schiffer) meets his friend Monsieur Bouc (Lee Samuel Tanng), director of the train. However, a multimedia set...

“Murder on the Orient Express” continues at the Long Beach Playhouse Mainstage Theatre, 5021 E. Anaheim St., through Feb. 12, with performances Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $14 to $24 and can be purchased by calling the box office at (562) 494-1014 or visiting

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