Was Pope John Paul I murdered?

By Lyn Collet

This magnificent production tells of the last confession of Cardinal Giovanni Benelli (played brilliantly by David Suchet) who influenced the election of Pope John Paul I (Cardinal Albino Luciani – portrayed wonderfully by Richard O’Callaghan) in 1978.

This confession relates to all the events that took place before, during and after the Pope’s 33-day reign and reveals Benelli’s personal ambitions.

Tha Last Confession

Set in the Vatican, The Last Confession by Roger Crane is a complex story, but one superbly and strongly performed by this entire cast, supported with excellent sets by William Dudley and lighting design by Peter Mumford. The many scene changes were totally professional and, although simple, very effective in their creativity. The costumes by Fotini Dimou were believably authentic as were the stage props, while director Jonathan Church has made this a fascinating, fast-moving tale with just the right amount of humour.

Famed for his roles as Poirot and in Shakespeare, Suchet as Benelli convincingly succeeds in showing his character as a man struggling with his faith, fighting his dreams of power, and expressing his feelings of guilt for what he feels is his part in the death of his loved friend Luciani. Without revealing too much, Benelli’s final scene is highly dramatic and shows Suchet’s incredible talent to advantage.

This production is a powerful, absorbing and thought-provoking drama with power plays and machinations within the Vatican being strongly explored.

The Last Confession will be playing for a three-week season from the 3rd of September at The Comedy Theatre before touring nationally. Bookings at