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Review: Black Coffee @ New Theatre

Posted by Weeping Tudor from Cardiff - Published on 05/03/2014 at 12:25
0 comments » - Tagged as History, People, Stage

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Agatha Christie Company - Black Coffee

New Theatre, Cardiff

Tuesday 4th March 2014

Murder mystery in March is never bad thing.

Even after this company’s shaky production last year of Go Back For Murder, I was intrigued to sip upon Black Coffee.

Being Christie’s first play, it’s also the only one to feature her ultra-famous sleuth creation of Hercule Poirot. We see him in thirty-three of her novels and more than fifty short stories. Why he isn’t in more plays is perhaps a mystery in itself. Alongside Miss Marple, both these character are the peak of detective work, haute couture and good manners.

The black coffee of the title is in fact the crutch of the story. The poison is put in there, killing Sir Claud Amory (Ric Recate) and resulting in a scientific formula being taken from him and someone in the household is the culprit. We are lead to believe we know who put poison in the drink, the audience sees it very clearly, but as always some fishy goings on reveal themselves and Poirot is on the case.

Here, Robert Powell is the Belgian detective. I didn’t know how this would go down, but watching him he made the part his own. After eons of seeing David Suchet on the telly, it’s refreshing to see another take, even if he is the pinnacle of the role. Powell had the accent to a tee, the slightly eccentric nature and extreme politeness. I certainly see more of him doing this, providing the company transform some novels into plays.

Ben Nealon is becoming a veteran of the company. As Richard Amory, his English activeness, brazen charm and attractive confidence are present when on stage. Liza Goddard playing Miss Caroline Amory as a bit ditzy socialite, who can’t really take in just what has happened. Gary Mavers needed work on his Italian accent as Doctor Carelli, but was an imposing and menacing character to counteract the humour in the play.

With an absolutely gorgeous art deco set and some lovely harp riffs playing over the action, this was pleasing theatre. I know Christie upped her game with much better plays and stories that this company will play for years to come.

Grab your moustache and head over to the New Theatre for some Black Coffee.

Rating: 7/10

Black Coffee is at the New Theatre till Saturday 8th March 2014

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