Review: Black Coffee, by Agatha Christie, Cambridge Arts Theatre until January 25
This classic whodunnit is entertaining from outset
From the moment the curtain goes up to reveal a sumptuous set this is an impressive production.
An English country house, a rich businessman, a dodgy Italian, men in dinner jackets and ladies in posh frocks - throw into the mix some lethal bottles of poisons, a missing formula, and a black out - and the scene is set for murder.
A classic whodunit, this – the first of Christie’s plays – is entertaining from start to finish and great fun.
The sudden death of Sir Claud Amory just happens to co-incide with the arrival of the most famous Belgian detective in the world Hercule Poirot – with his sidekick the hapless Hastings.
Played by Robert Powell, Poirot starts using his little grey cells to get to the bottom of the mystery.
With a slight raising of eyebrows, Powell brings out the humour of the character and a fresh interpretation of a such a much-loved and well known character.
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Meanwhile Liza Goddard carries off with skill her share of the humour, mixed with a healthy dose of xenophobia, as Sir Claud’s sister Caroline.
A dash of blackmail, a hint of greed and a slice of uncomfortable past – and the motives are all in place for Poirot to delve into the psychology.
But whose motive was the strongest? Who had the opportunity? Who tampered with the coffee cup?
Leave it to Hercule Poirot.