Powell takes on Poirot

Eric Carte, Robert Powell and Robin McCallum
Eric Carte, Robert Powell and Robin McCallum

Actor Robert Powell will be donning the famous moustache when he plays a famous fictional detective.

The actor, who has appeared in Jesus of Nazareth, The 39 Steps, Doomwatch and The Detectives, among others, will play Hercule Poirot in the play Black Coffee when it comes to Milton Keynes Theatre next week.

The play, written by queen of crime Agatha Christie featuring her famous Belgian detective, runs fromMonday to Saturday, May 3.

It tells the story of a quintessential English country estate thrown into chaos following a murder.

Can Poirot see through the despair, treachery and deception before it is too late?

The play has been produced by the Agatha Christie Theatre Company who have adapted many of her works for the stage including And Then There Were None, Spider’s Web and The Hollow.

Liza Goddard, known for her roles on Bergerac and on the panel show Give Us A Clue, joins Peak Practice’s Gary Mavers and Soldier Soldier’s Ben Nealon in the cast.

Powell admits he was not a huge fan of the author before he took on the part.

He said: “I am not a big fan of Agatha Christie and have never read any of her books. They are just not my cup of tea.

“But prior to becoming Poirot, I read the first book The Mysterious Affair at Styles at the recommendation of my daughter. I actually enjoyed it and it was useful for playing Poirot.”

Actors including David Suchet and Peter Ustinov have played the part in the past but Powell avoided seeing any other portrayals of the detective.

Robert said: “I think I wanted to respond to the script without any other influence. I liked the lines and thought it was a cracking good story. That appealed to me in the part.

“I think people will find this version of Poirot has got a sense of humour which some people think has been forgotten in other adaptations.”

The actor is also familiar with the Daventry area having previously shot the film Running Scared in the town and many scenes were filmed in and around Braunston.

He said: “It was just after I had appeared in Doomwatch and it was David Hemmings’ first film.

“I had a great time and the people at Braunston were absolutely fantastic. It was a really lovely part of the world, it is very beautiful and I have a lot of fond memories of filming up there.

“I have to admit though, I have not seen it since I filmed.”

After years of being a straight actor, Powell later appeared in the sitcom The Detectives alongside comedia Jasper Carrott, which he enjoyed enormously.

He said: “People often said that on the back of Doomwatch, I ended up playing leading men with little laughs.

“However I told Jasper Carrott when I was making the show with him that I have been making people laugh before he did with the stand up.

“I know there were a lot of people who thought it was a risk especially as Jasper hadn’t done a lot of acting, but it was a lot of fun and we enjoyed ourselves when we were filming.”

Tickets for the show can be booked by calling the box office on 0844 871 7652 or alternatively visit www.atgtickets.co.uk/miltonkeynes.