REVIEW: BLACK COFFEE Grand Theatre, Blackpool

The cast of Agataha Christie's Black Coffee, with Robert Powell (centre) as Hurcule Poirot.
The cast of Agataha Christie's Black Coffee, with Robert Powell (centre) as Hurcule Poirot.
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“Myself, I think I played my part rather well,” said Hercule Poirot after outsmarting the murderer.

Robert Powell might well have said: “I think I played myself rather well.” True to his interviews, the actor gave us his walk and his voice with none of the affectations of you-know-who on television.

And no, he wasn’t going to wear Poirot’ s ridiculous spats.

It took little time for Agatha Christie devotees to see there were no peculiarities about this interpretation and they could focus on several fine performances in the latest tour of Bill Kenwright’s Agatha Christie Theatre Company.

If Liza Goddard took the kudos as the victim’s fluttering, dowager sister, it wasn’t just because she had the best lines. It was a romp through a Christie stereotype.

And Robin McCallum as naïve Captain Hastings, realising he was fancied by a bright young thing, opened up the laughs to lift a typical Christie talkathon.

But the last laugh went to Powell, indulging Poirot his penchant to fiddle symmetrically with the fireplace ornaments, turning to the audience and shrugging expressively before a stage black-out.

Barry Band