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Review: Black Coffee by Agatha Christie

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Posted on: 14 September 2022

The Little Theatre, Dover Street

Review by Lynette Watson

Poison, murder, a missing formula, and secret identities.

A shoal of red herrings face Hercule Poirot, the intrepid Belgian detective, in Agatha Christie’s murder mystery ‘Black Coffee’ – the latest production at Leicester’s Little Theatre.

The play centres around the theft of eminent physicist, Sir Claude Amory’s explosive formula. Having summoned Poirot to his house to uncover the thief, the plot darkens when Sir Claude is dispatched by poisoned coffee. Poirot not only has to unmask a thief but a murderer as well.

The story unwinds slowly at first, however the action really begins to come into its own with the arrival of Poirot and his trusted friend Captain Hastings.

Each character has the spotlight cast upon them in turn, with every member of the Amory family having their chance to look capable and guilty, as well as a mysterious Italian doctor. As their secrets are confessed, your mind jostles from suspect to suspect, as you try to decide who the actual villain is!

There are some delightful characterisations from the talented 13-strong cast with no weak links. Some are new to the Little Theatre stage, though a few reliable regulars include Karen Gordon as Miss Caroline Amory, a scatter-brained, stiff upper-class lady, and Rose Bale as her niece Barbara – a lively and slightly eccentric girl.

All delivered believable performances, but the night belonged to Michael King as Hercule Poirot – although new to the LDS, he is an accomplished actor and brought a freshness to the role as he scuttled around the stage, delivering his typically dry lines, peppered with comedic moments: a terrific performance.

Black Coffee hits all the right notes and the near-full audience loved it – so who committed the murder? Only one way to find out!

Book tickets here.

 

Photo by Dave Morris.

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