Mystery-solving legend shares his life
By Owen James
We all love a good story – and David Suchet has plenty to tell, and knows just how to tell them. Revered for his twenty-four year stint playing Agatha Christie’s quirky sleuth Hercule Poirot, he admits that fortunate casting has graced him with a plethora of appetising roles in theatre, TV and film since, and given him a platform to share his passion for and wisdom of theatre and art to audiences such as ourselves.
Jane Hutcheon is his interviewer, the duo obviously following a carefully planned script and set of questions, but still sharing warm chemistry and a sense of friendship. Suchet is at ease in Hutcheon’s conversation, and their light-hearted banter makes these two and a half hours fly by. Hutcheon has genuine interest in every story Suchet has to tell, and clearly admires his enthusiasm for the arts and his distinguished career.
Suchet discusses how he found his way into the world of theatre and performing from an early age, and the influence his upbringing has had on his life. As he reminisces on early days at drama school and some of his first roles, the respect he has for his profession shines through every anecdote, and his healthy, positive outlook on life is catching. Those there to hear about days of Poirot straight from the horse’s mouth will not be disappointed – Suchet executes his due diligence in fan service with amusing stories from the set, and detailed explanations of how his most recognisable character traits came to be.
We are treated in the second act to short performances from Suchet – monologues and excerpts from classic texts. He also runs a fascinating Shakespeare masterclass in this latter half, exploring, at length, the command Shakespeare had over language and the direction contained within his carefully chosen words for those deciphering it. This is a mesmerising insight into an actor’s approach to dissecting text, and will be eagerly lapped up by any budding or established theatre-makers in the crowd.
David Suchet is a gift to the performing arts, and I could listen to his stories for hours. He returns to Melbourne for just one more evening on Thursday 13th Feb following other performances across Australia. A must-see for fans of Poirot or theatre-makers keen to hear his many pearls of wisdom.
Photography courtesy of Arts Centre Melbourne.