'Lucky stage' set for farewell to M. Poirot ; EG Essential Guide nottinghampost.com/entertainment Daily Your daily guide to the county's entertainment scene, with Entertainment Editor Simon Wilson Follow @EG_NottinghamPoirot and Me: An Afternoon with David Suchet Theatre Royal Robert Smith
WITH Agatha Christie's Poirot having been watched by 700 million people, transmitted to 100 countries and translated into 80 languages, one might have asked why Nottingham's Theatre Royal was chosen for the launch of a biography detailing David Suchet's 25 years of playing the master detective.
Allow me to explain, as Monsieur Poirot might say before delivering the verdict on an investigation. It was here, in October 1952, that Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap premiered on stage. Christie must have had powers of hindsight; having called the venue her lucky theatre, the play went on to become the world's longestrunning show, with 60 years and 25,000 performances now under its belt.
The Mousetrap would top the resumes of most writers, but it is probably the fastidious Belgian for whom Agatha Christie is most well known. Poirot has been played by Albert Finney and Peter Ustinov in film, but it is Suchet's TV portrayal since 1989 which has won the hearts of audiences and ensured the character's longevity.
The writer of Poirot And Me, Geoffrey Wansell, takes on the role of host and introduces David Suchet to the stage. He walks on - dark suit, open collar, polished shoes - and instantly has the crowd in the palm of his hand as only a thespian of his charm possibly could.
Suchet revels in the many delightful observations and anecdotes.
The story of the lady from Hastings who genuinely addressed the actor as Mr Poirot raises many laughs, as does Suchet's tale of delight-turned-to-deflation after plans for his face to feature on a new Belgian coin were scuppered by the euro.
Speaking of his portrayal of Poirot, Suchet explains his attempt at building a character that is respected but not necessarily adored, a perfectionist, cold but capable of warmth, someone we smile with, but not at; the raison d'etre of his efforts being to serve the writer and to reflect as closely as possible the Poirot as described in the original books. On Wednesday, the ITV series comes to an end with Curtain, an episode which Suchet chokingly describes as the most difficult he has ever had to make.
For the millions glued to the box at 9pm next week hoping this will not be the last of Mr Hercule Poirot, the enthusiasm which Suchet shows towards a big-screen adaptation offers some comfort. Au revoir indeed.
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