Black Coffee, The Opera House, Manchester

As part of their pledge to revitalise some of her lesser known material, the Agatha Christie Company with a little help from Bill Kenwright productions brings its touring production of ‘Black Coffee’ to Manchester this week.

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Although a less well performed piece, at the heart of this particular production is Christie’s most prolific and best loved detective, good old Hercule Poirot.
The production has all the right ingredients for a perfect whodunnit, a locked room, an unexpected mysterious visitor, a debt ridden son, a box of poisons left over from the war, not to mention the fact that the wealthy Sir Claud (Ric Recate) has just developed a much lusted after formula which has subsequently been stolen. And so the most famous moustache in crime writing gets to work.

…special mention here must go to Deborah Grant as Sir Claud’s sister, Caroline, and Felicity Houlbrooke as Barbara, Sir Claud’s carefree niece who could give Lady Mary of Downton a run for her money if their paths ever did cross.

Jason Durr previously seen in Heartbeat and Midsummer Murders takes on the role of the Belgian super sleuth determined to find out just who has committed the dastardly deed. Durr makes for an excellent Poirot and is clearly very popular with the audience, engaging and witty he is a natural in the role. Sidekick Captain Hastings, (Robin McCallum) compliments Poirot’s sharp observations with his good natured nice but dim observations.

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The production includes many light-hearted scenes as well as drama, special mention here must go to Deborah Grant as Sir Claud’s sister, Caroline, and Felicity Houlbrooke as Barbara, Sir Claud’s carefree niece who could give Lady Mary of Downton a run for her money if their paths ever did cross.

Although a little slow paced at times Black Coffee succeeds in offering audiences an enjoyable evening of mystery and intrigue, just when you think you know who to point the finger at Poirot discovers some new evidence to make you think again.

Showing at the Opera House Manchester until Saturday 22nd November
http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/agatha-christies-black-coffee/

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