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Hercule Poirot in Black Coffee at Fairfield Halls

| Uncategorized | 05/06/2014

Jason Durr as Poirot
Jason Durr as Poirot

A stimulating exhibition of detective cunning saw the marvelous Hercule Poirot return to the London Stage. Following David Suchet’s retirement from the televised version in 2013, after nearly 25 years on the job, the mammoth task of filling the detective’s smart brogues falls to Jason Durr; best known for his portrayal of Mike Bradley in the police drama Heartbeat.

A performance that upheld this rich theatrical tradition and charmed Tuesday’s audience came from Jason Durr’s fantastically expressive eyebrows. When employed along with pensively joined fingertips and a neater than neat three piece suit that looked as if it were drawn with a ruler, the charismatic little Belgian was brought to life with more than a little joie de vivre.

At first commissioned to solve the mystery of a valuable stolen formula, the sudden death of Sir Claude Amory (Ric Recate) is soon added to Poirot’s case-load. As Poirot and the increasingly over-zealous Captain Hastings (Robin McCallum) home in on the killer, the supporting cast provides ample intrigue and enjoyment. Stand out performances came from Liza Goddard as the charming but clueless sister Lady Caroline Amory and Olivia Mace who played Lucia Amory; a character with a lot on her mind and even more weighing on her conscience.


If Agatha Christie’s jokes about ‘Johnny foreigner’ failed to stand up to today’s audience, it is through no fault of Director Joe Harmston’s cast, whose lively performance brimmed with energy and intrigue. Having directed the Agatha Christie Theatre Company for eight years, Harmston’s close affinity with the script becomes increasingly evident. While Poirot and his English counterpart Inspector Japp (Eric Carte) cash in on comically ‘duffing up’ the greasy Dr Carelli (Gary Mavers), the Belgian’s sinister line; ‘duty is duty, and murder is murder’ strikes the perfect balance between the comic and the deadly serious.


From his first appearance on the West End stage in 1928 to the present day, the famous Belgian detective has graced stage and screen, his dry sense of humour and neat quirkiness a constant source of entertainment. Joe Harmston’s production succeeds in adding to this plethora with a delightful, family friendly performance at the excellent venue, Fairfield Halls.

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