Jan McLachlan steps into the role of director yet again to bring us the magnificent detective work of Hercule Poirot in Agatha Christie’s Black Coffee.
Poirot walks Captain Arthur Hastings, Inspector Japp and the audience through a complex, contorting plot of blackmail, burglary and sinister murder where the offender is always the least expected character.
The play is laid out in another one of the Pymble Player’s signature realist sets, a static 1930-40s lounge room where all the thrilling action occurs.
From the outset, McLachlan has got her cast to tightly produce a tense amalgam of the innocence of some characters with undertones of a dark, foreboding nature from others.
George Trippis plays the character Dr Carelli, the deceitful, plotting, Italian doctor. He characterises Carelli well, forcing the audience to question his malevolent nature. Trippis returns to the Pymble Players having performed in McLachlan’s most recent children’s play Spin Me a Tale as well as Man in a Restaurant and Away, Money.
James Burns plays the reputable Sir Claud Amory, even if only for the short role this character fulfils. Assumed to be loved by all for his powerful and ingenious nature, it becomes apparent that this character may have made more enemies than even he had recognised.
Elizabeth Chambers plays another suspicious Italian in this xenophobic social mix. Chambers has a well-established history for theatre performance and is a lifelong Agatha Christie fan. She fulfils the role of Lucia Amory superbly, accent and all.
Susan Farrell is another actress with a very solid resume, studying at NIDA in 2013 and recently performing in Spider’s Web at the Genesian Theatre. She plays Barbara Amory, the flirtatious nephew to Sir Claud, who tells it exactly how it is.
Jim Burns is not related to James Burns. He plays the Christie’s repetitively used character of Inspector Japp, the Scotland Yard professional who relies on Poirot for his verdict time and time again. Jim returns to the Players after playing two roles in last year’s Spin Me a Tale, one of which was The King himself, Elvis Presley.
Philip Clay returns for his second ever role in the world of theatre, his debut only last year in the Player’s own Life After George. Prior to these roles he has held positions of writing and directing at schools such as Lindfield Primary, and Roseville and Barker College. He plays Edward Raynor, the unassuming house servant.
David Prickett plays out his debut performance for the Players’ and is over the moon that it is a role in an Agatha Christie whodunit. He plays Sir Claud’s son, Richard Amory and is also the protective husband of the highly suspected Lucia.
Stephen Snars has been acting for the last 13 years and is most notably remembered at the Pymble Player’s for his role as George in Life After George. He is a dentist, sources props and builds sets for productions whilst simultaneously holding down high profile positions in plays. He plays the loyal assistant to Poirot, Captain Arthur Hastings OBE.
Rick Gilhome is another actor with a highly esteemed history of innumerable roles. Beginning acting in 1970 at school in the UK he has fulfilled over 36 stage roles, directed over 20 plays, written 15-20 children’s plays and one full-length romantic comedy. He plays Dr Graham, a fairly short yet crucial role in this case of deciphering the murderer of the honoured Sir Claud.
Jill Klopfer debuts in this production after wishing to enter the world of the thespian for some time now. She plays Mrs Tredwell, another unassuming servant to the household who may comprise more than meets the eye in the unfolding of the facts.
Lois Marsh is another product of experience at the Genesian Theatre and makes her debut for Pymble Players in her role as Miss Caroline Amory. She plays the seemingly very innocent, naïve role of Sir Claud’s sister, contrasting heavily with a lot of the other characters.
And finally, Balthazar Gelos. He has been keen on performance since the young age of 8 and has and began to explore amateur theatre at 16. As he is from Adelaide, Black Coffee is his first attempt at the Sydney amateur theatre scene and he flawlessly pulls off his own, fresh rendition of the magnificent Hercule Poirot.
The play is on from the 6th of May until the 30th of May, running every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 8:00PM.
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Director Jan McLachlan believes she is blessed with one of the most wonderful, happiest casts, and it definitely shows in one of the most tightly played out performance we have witnessed at this venue.