BWW Reviews: BLACK COFFEE, New Alexandra Theatre Birmingham, July 7 2014
Black Coffee is the first play that Agatha Christie wrote for the stage back in 1929, when the show is set. Sir Claud Amory summons the famous Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, and his trusted friend Captain Hastings to his London house to investigate who has stolen a formula from his safe. Upon arriving, Sir Claud is found dead in his library so the enquiry turns to into a murder investigation as well.
Poirot is a fictional much-loved character, only appearing in one play (Black Coffee) but thirty-three novels and over fifty short stories between 1920 and 1975. He is most famously portrayed by David Suchet in the ITV series which he appeared in for twenty four years. There have been numerous other actors who have depicted the character and is a very exciting role for any performer.
Simon Scullion's set design is beautiful with heaps of detail. The library at Sir Claude's house is extremely grand with lots of 1920s character. Nikki Bird's costumes match this beauty and are stunning. The lighting by Douglas Kuhrt is very simple but suitable for the setting and Matthew Bugg's sound design is very good using music referencing the era and crime thriller genre.
Jason Durr plays Poirot in this production and is absolutely brilliant. His French accent never faltered once and even has small details such as his posture and body language down to a tee. If I were to be extremely picky, I would say that when his dialogue picks up speed, his diction wavers a little but overall he is a perfect casting choice. There are no weak links within the company at all so everyone should be applauded equally.
Black Coffee plays at the New Alexandra Theatre until 12 July and tours until November 2014.