David Suchet: Poirot and More, a Retrospective

Being in a pandemic has meant trips to the theatre have been few and far between over the last couple of years, but when I heard David Suchet was coming to the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in December, I had to get a ticket. With the whole audience masked-up, we settled into our seats.

The premise involved David Suchet being interviewed by Geoffrey Wansell about his life, his work, and, of course, Poirot. We found out about his family history, his various acting roles over a fifty-year career, and, most anticipated, how he came across the role of Poirot. I found out so much about him that I didn’t know before – he was both fascinating and humble in equal measure.

Suchet talked about how upon meeting The Christie Foundation, he was asked to play the part of Poirot, ‘laughing with him, not at him’ (which they felt had happened in previous incarnations). Thankfully, Suchet took on the challenge and ended up playing Poirot on screen for over a quarter of a century.

We got to hear (and see) how Suchet prepared for the role, including developing the Poirot look (complete with moustache and fat suit), voice, and the infamous walk, even giving us a little demo with the walking stick. Before starting the role, Suchet read all of the Poirot books and wrote copious character notes with 93 separate points, which he then swore by during production – with minute details, such as the shape and size of Poirot’s eggs for breakfast, how many sugar lumps he has in his tea/coffee, the design of his slippers (embroidered!), and his dislike of flying and travelling by water. For an Agatha Christie and Poirot fan, this list, written in the programme, was just as interesting as the talk itself.

As well as the Poirot-chat, taking up a pleasing chunk of the show, it was great to hear about other roles Suchet has taken on over the years. I particularly enjoyed the section about his Shakespearean roles and how he got to grips with the text within the plays, resulting in what only can be described as watching a ‘Shakespeare 101 with David Suchet’ during the show, both performing some soliloquys but then dissecting the language and meaning within.

Thoroughly enjoyable, this was a like having a much needed chat with your fave uncle, a theatrical hug in a mug, and it was great to support my local theatre through these difficult times.

Delighted to also be walking away with two new books, one of which was signed! 🙂

Check out the remainder of the tour here.

2 thoughts on “David Suchet: Poirot and More, a Retrospective

  1. I loved the Poirot series. Suchet is a pro. So many famous actors have played Poirot, yet Suchet is the one you picture when reading Christie. Suchet even played a terrorist–convincingly–in an airplane hijack film.
    Do you recall any of the questions people asked of him?

    Liked by 1 person

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