Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Theatre 40 Offers a Delectable Black Coffee

Black Coffee by Agatha Christie directed by Bruce Gray Theatre 40 through August 1

There's only one mystery writer, in my book, who has managed to capture and enthrall the hearts of millions through the past century, the one and only Agatha Christie. Her plays, like the longest running play on the West End The Mousetrap as well as this early hit Black Coffee, not only keep audience on the edge of their seats, guessing whodunit, but are as entertaining and fun as all get out, particularly when led by the devilishly fun Miss Marple, or in this case, the unparalleled Hercule Poirot. Theatre 4o's handsome production of Black Coffee is a real treat with a stellar ensemble.

Without the perfect choice for Hercule Poirot, despite the mix of other wonderful characters, the play cannot function at top-notch speed. Thanks to the marvelous Tom Dugan, Poirot is in great hands. He is dapper, quick-thinking as well as quick-witted and marvelously droll. He is meticulous with every detail. Fun to watch as well is LizAnne Keigley as Aunt Charlotte Amory. She has the gift of gab and makes the woman a fascinating supporting character. Beautiful Shelby Kocee plays Lucia, a difficult role to essay, as it is not always clear just how guilty this woman may be, but Kocee is sincere and straightforward in her approach. Katharine McEwan is also a delight as the seductive Barbara. Randy Vasquez makes a deviously intriguing Carelli, Nicholas Hosking is ever so appealing as the fumbling assistant to Poirot, Hastings, and Corey Rieger makes another difficult character Richard, Lucia's new husband, as interesting and likeable as humanly possible. Completing the formidable group are Lary Ohlson as Raynor, Don Moss as Japp, David Hunt Staffford as Sir Claud, and John McGuire as Treadwell, all terrific. And, not to be forgotten are Christy Holy in her brief scene as Dr. Graham and Tim Astor who did double duty as Constable and the butler Treadwell at the matinee I attended. Apparently McGuire was indisposed, but it provided a delightful adlib in a later scene when one character commented, "Didn't I see you as the butler?" Astor responded, "My brother, sir!" Fun!

Gray's direction is fluid and fast-paced and Jeff G. Rack's set of the library, just stunning! This is a beautifully mounted and thoroughly entertaining ensemble piece that merits your visit. Agatha Christie would highly approve! Through August 1 only!

Redondo Ballet Presents SNOW QUEEN, February 18 & 19 Photo
Redondo Ballet presents SNOW QUEEN based on Hans Christian Anderson's tale at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center on February 18 and 19, 2023.

​​​​​​​UCLAs Center for the Art of Performance Presents Armenian Jazz Ensemb Photo
UCLA's Center for the Art of Performance (CAP UCLA) presents Armenia's leading folk jazz and ethno-fusion ensemble MVF Band performing songs from their latest album, Nightology, along with other repertory on Thursday, February 23 at 8 pm in Royce Hall. Tickets are $38 and are available now at, 310-825-2101 and the UCLA Central Ticket Office. 

Liveone Launches All-Stars Talent Competition Series Photo
LiveOne (Nasdaq: LVO), an award-winning, creator-first, music, entertainment and technology platform, has announced the launch of the LiveOne All-Stars Talent Competition Series, a year-long competition to celebrate the best and the brightest of the 3,000+ talented artists, both past and present, who have been featured across LiveOne's platforms over the past five years.

Matt Cook Named Executive Director Of Blue 13 Dance Company Photo
Arts leader Matt Cook has been named Executive Director of Blue13 Dance Company, the Los Angeles-based dance ensemble known for presenting aesthetically and culturally daring live performances throughout the US and abroad for over 20 years.

From This Author - Don Grigware

  Don Grigware was a writer for BroadwayWorld through December 2019.                            ... (read more about this author)