Prolific novelist Agatha Christie so hated the first adaptation of one of her books, about famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, into a play that she decided to write the next play about Poirot herself, according to Gregory Boyd, artistic director of the Alley Theatre. The result was Black Coffee, which jump-started her career as a playwright. “It was her first play — and it’s quite wonderful. First time at bat, and she hits a home run,” Boyd said.
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The Alley is staging Agatha Christie’s Black Coffee for its popular Summer Chills series — the time each year that Houstonians can count on trying to figure out a classic whodunit from their theater seats. And this one is special because, ironically enough, Christie went on to drop Poirot from her future plays — though not her mysteries. Boyd said she felt Poirot was so idiosyncratic and strong a character, he tended “to take over.” As Christie’s playwriting developed, she concentrated more on “the interplay of characters,” Boyd said. Veteran actor James Black will take on the role of the mustached sleuth in a production dominated by Alley regulars. 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2:30 p.m. Sundays. Through August 5. Hubbard Stage of the Alley Theatre, 615 Texas.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: July 8. Continues through Aug. 5, 2012