Agatha Christie's Black Coffee at the People's Theatre

Written in 1930, Black Coffee was the first of Agatha Christie’s 19 plays and set the standard for what was to come. Black Coffee is a classic country house murder mystery featuring the famous Belgium detective, Hercule Poirot. He has plenty of opportunities to flex those ‘little grey cells’ in this mystery which begins with an inventor and his stolen explosive formula.

It was opening night at the People’s Theatre and there was a distinct air of anticipation in the auditorium. The theatre was full and as I sat waiting for the show to begin I had a good look at the fantastic set with its rather fetching oil painting.

After a tentative start, the cast got into their stride and the story unfolded at a pace.

Jake Wilson Craw’s portrayal of the intelligent yet eccentrically-refined Belgian detective was superb. He gave the character a lightness of humour mixed with a touch of David Suchet’s mannerisms and an equally impressive moustache. Jake was in complete control throughout, and his generous performance allowed the other actors to shine.

Kate Scott who played the over fussy Caroline Amory was a joy to watch, and Ellen Johnson as the flirtatious Barbara Amory was fantastic.

The costumes were spot on. The period feel was just right for this performance.

Black Coffee is classic Christie, given a classy treatment. Like a good cup of coffee, this play has lots of flavours, it's full-bodied and slips down easily. If you’re at all a fan of whodunits, it’s not to be missed.

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