Black Coffee

Date 10th May 2024
Society Silchester Players
Venue Silchester Village Hall
Type of Production Play
Director Brian Gillett and Jill Gillett
Producer Brian Gillett and Jill Gillett
Written By Agatha Christie

Report

Author: Chris Horton

BLACK COFFEE by Agatha Christie is a classic Christie story, full of red herrings, an intriguing and sometimes complex plot. It is the only stage play written by Agatha Christie that features the detective Hercule Poirot and his reliable sidekick Captain Hastings. An inventor discovers that his formula for an explosive has gone missing and, during a period of darkness in which he encourages the thief to return the formula, he is murdered.    

The action took place in one setting, the large luxury home, outside London of the inventor. The set was a good representation of such a home complete with bookcase, fireplace and high quality paintings.  Props and set dressings were impressive and there was great attention to detail.   The ornaments on the mantle shelf were decorative as well as essential to the plot.  They also gave Poirot the opportunity to display his eccentricities. 

The costumes were in keeping with the characters, the period and with good attention to detail.  Treadwell’s butler’s suit was immaculate and Barbara Amory’s sequinned dress was just gorgeous.

The lighting was effective and well controlled. The sound was good, the voices clear and easy to understand. 

This strong cast brought the script to life and each actor was well cast and confident in their roles. As the story unfolded the suspected are lined up – the female with a shady past, the secretary, the butler, the mysterious Italian and so on.  One of the red herrings I very much enjoyed was the niece, Barbara, pursuing a rather shy Captain Hastings with romantic intentions. The skilful direction of Brian and Jill Gillett gave us believable characters and Alan Moorhouse was superb as Poirot complete with odd gestures and many opportunities in the story to use his ‘little grey cells’. Alan’s accent was good but his moustache was not as good as David Suchet’s! He was ably supported by Peter Chiverton as Hastings and Keith Graham as Inspector Japp had just the right amount of levity combined with humour. With all the ingredients assembled for a classic Christie play, this production is certainly another one of which the Silchester Players can justifiably be very proud.  

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