AGATHA CHRISTIE is quite rightly known as the queen of whodunnits, and this was the first play she ever wrote — and the first time she ever breathed life into that diminutive Belgian sleuth, Hercule Poirot.
Even before the curtain went up, the eerie background music warned us with chilling foreboding that something terrible was about to unfold.
The action took place in and around the library of a quintessential English country estate, owned by the Amory family. The estate is thrown into chaos when the eccentric inventor Sir Claud is found dead, and his latest earth-shattering formula gone.
This set was so life-like that I felt as if we’d walked into a real-life incarnation of a Cluedo board, albeit way more lavish, and in such an intimate theatre you really felt as though you were sitting just on the edge of the room watching the action unfold. The bookcase and the fireplace were beautiful, the marble floor shiny, and through the French window the “garden” with its English country backdrop was so green and lush you could almost feel the summer air wafting in as they opened.
Robert Powell made an impressive Hercule Poirot, with a faultless Belgian accent and convincing quirky gestures. He completely captured Poirot’s subtle yet intelligent sense of humour, and had the audience chuckling on many occasions. Liza Goddard, star of TV’s Bergerac, played Miss Caroline, sister of the victim, and made an impressive eccentric — yet very charming — English lady.