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For all the Agatha Christie fans out there, the name Hercule Poirot is by no means unfamiliar. The great Belgian detective solving crimes across the UK and European continents, fastidious to a fault and always debonair. But where did he begin his illustrious career? This adaptation of Christie’s novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Jon Jory takes us back to Poirot’s first days in England when he was thrust unwillingly into detective work by the murder of his friend Emily Inglethorp and must partner with pal Hastings to find the culprit.
The Genesian Theatre has put on a delightful play in Hercule Poirot’s First Case. The fun director Tom Massey had while adapting a plot that travels to more than 30 locations to fit on one small stage can be felt throughout the show, and his creativity shines in the choreography and staging choices he’s made to bring Poirot to life.
Peter Gizariotis as our titular character is larger than life and fully aware and unashamed of it – which is exactly what we need him to be. His main counterpart on stage, Hastings, played by Delmar Terblanche is unfailing in his performance as the well-meaning, long-pained partner-slash-fervent admirer. Other standouts from the cast include Dorcas the gossipy maid Dorcas, played by Meg Girdler – the audience started giggling in anticipation whenever she appeared on stage – and Emilia Kriketos as pharmacist and love interest Cynthia Murdoch.
One of the show’s highlights is its staging, which enables the plucky pacing of the story and showcases the Genesian Theatre’s inherent beauty through minimalist set design. The venue’s vibrant stained glass window is framed by black wings through which cast members were visible moving around off-stage; on stage two chairs played everything from a car to a table to a lounge, transformed by props plucked from the wings when required. This approach allowed for quick transitions and heightened the impact of each scene by adding extra layers of physical comedy, turning seemingly mundane moments like listing features of the crime scene into their own mini-performance pieces.
Overall, Hercule Poirot’s First Case is a delightful whodunnit presented in a fun and amusing way, and you’re guaranteed to leave with a smile on your face.
Hercule Poirot’s First Case is on from 21 May to 2 July 2022, book your ticket here.
Wine Pairing | Chenin Blanc
Chenin Blanc is a versatile white varietal with a rich old-world European history that has found a place in many new-world wine countries, including Australia. It ages well in both oak and stainless steel and can be adapted to different levels of sweetness. This combination of history and adaptability makes it my perfect pairing for this adaptation of a classic Poirot story.
My Pick: Coriole Vineyards, 2020, Chenin Blanc, McLaren Vale
This Chenin Blanc has lots of flavours reminiscent of olden times, like rhubarb, Turkish delight and quince. Acidity is pronounced in order to balance the candied nature of the fruit flavours, and its flavours linger pleasantly on the tongue after each sip.
|Aussie Season||21 May to 2 July 2022, Genesian Theatre, Sydney|
|Writer||Based on The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie, adapted by Jon Jory|
|Theatre Type & Genre||Play, mystery, whodunnit|
|See it if you like||murder mysteries, Agatha Christie|
|Wine Pairing||Chenin Blanc|
|Criteria for Wine Pairing||European history, ages well, candied fruit flavours|