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Agatha Christie play stars well-known actor

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: January 07, 2014

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AGATHA Christie fans are being invited to a classic spy-thriller performance, starring one of Britain’s most instantly recognisable actors.

The Agatha Christie Theatre Company has announced that Robert Powell is to star as Hercule Poirot in a new production of her first ever play Black Coffee which will visit The Regent Theatre in SToke on Trent between Monday, February 17 and Saturday, February 22.

Robert Powell has received multiple awards and a BAFTA nomination for his portrayal of ‘Jesus’ in Franco Zefferelli’s Jesus of Nazareth and went on to star in numerous film hits including 39 Steps, Four Feathers and Shaka Zulu.

His extensive stage performances include Alan Bennett’s Single Spies, Keith Waterhouse’s Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Robert is supported by a heavy-weight cast including Agatha Christie Company regulars, Liza Goddard, star of such TV hits as Bergerac and the long-running Give Us A Clue, Gary Mavers who is best known for playing heart-throb doctor Andrew Attwood in Peak Practice and Ben Nealon, perhaps best loved for his role as Capt Forsythe in the ITV drama Soldier Soldier.

A quintessential English country estate is thrown into chaos following the murder of eccentric inventor Sir Claud Amory, and the theft of his new earth shattering formula.

Arriving at the estate just moments too late, one man immediately senses a potent brew of despair, treachery, and deception amid the estate's occupants. That man is Hercule Poirot.

From the pen of the great Dame Christie, Poirot debuted in her 1920 novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles, making his first - and only - stage outing in the mistress of murder’s debut play, Black Coffee.

The Belgian investigator went on to become one of world’s most cherished and long-lived fictional characters, appearing in 33 novels, one play and more than 50 short stories published between 1920 and 1975.

To this day he remains the only fictitious character to receive a front-page obituary in the New York Times.

His legend has proved ripe for adaptation and Poirot has been portrayed in comics, on radio and on screen for films and television, by actors such as Albert Finney, Sir Peter Ustinov, Sir Ian Holm, Alfred Molina and David Suchet who, of course, played the eponymous hero in the ITV series since 1989, through the entire catalogue of books and dozens of short stories.

He recently bid audiences an emotional farewell as Series 13 of the classic series concluded with his demise in Christie’s dramatic farewell, Curtain.

Mathew Prichard, Agatha Christie's grandson and chairman of Agatha Christie Ltd, said: “I am so pleased that Robert Powell has agreed to play Poirot in the Agatha Christie Theatre Co's production of Black Coffee starting in January.

“His appearance will be the icing on the cake of a real treat that lies in store in 2014 for all those around the country who go to see the play.”

Tickets for Black Coffee are available now in person from The Regent Theatre Box Office, by calling 0844 871 7649 or visiting www.atgtickets/com/stoke.

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