24 April 2015
A Formula for Success: Pymble Players' Latest Who-Dunnit
A 1930s English estate untouched by the Depression, an ensemble cast of would-be villains, and a secret formula. These are the ingredients Pymble Players director Jan McLachlan used to add her own unique flair to a classic who-dunnit. Agatha Christie penned the play, Black Coffee, “as a conventional spy-thriller”. It was first produced in 1930.
“Black Coffee is a statement of the time,” McLachlan said. “(Central character) Sir Claud Amory is very much a male of that time. He’s a scientist and very much in control.”
McLachlan is a Macquarie University lecturer in creative arts, and has been working with Pymble Players (in many roles) since 1982. Her own touch came early in the production phase of Black Coffee, when she cast 23-year-old Balthazar Gelos as Christie’s famous Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot.
“He’s lovely. He will win audiences over. I lucked out,” McLachlan said, adding that she did not have a young Hercule Poirot in mind until she began auditioning actors.
“I have an absolutely delightful cast,” McLachlan said. “They are doing so well. I pushed them at the beginning.”
McLachlan said she was also well supported by stage manager, Penny Macoun, in sourcing and placing the many and varied props in Black Coffee.
“Props were a nightmare…(The play) is prop-heavy, and they serve as vital clues. They need to be in the right place,” McLachlan said, adding most of them emerge from Hercule Poirot’s pockets.
McLachlan said audiences came to Agatha Christie shows expecting a night of light entertainment.
“Expect lots of intrigue, blackmail, and people appearing one way, and being another. All the actors (play characters) who are concealing something,’’ she explained, but McLachlan is the last person who will give away a surprise ending.
“(In this play) there are red herrings hanging from the ceiling!” she said.
Season Starting: Wednesday May 6 (click on "Upcoming Events" for exact dates and times.)
Address: Corner of Mona Vale Road & Bromley Avenue, Pymble NSW 2073
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