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British actor David Suchet

1978—1999

Making Salieri seethe

David Suchet, dressed for work as the brainy Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot, is turning his mind to the mysteries of God and Mozart. In his imminent Broadway debut, Suchet aims to make playwright Peter Shaffer’s envy-ridden, murderous Salieri seethe anew.

"Its a first for me, and Salieri has provided enormous challenge, “says Suchet, 53, talking on a location shoot for the second of two upcoming Poirot adventures. (The first of those films, “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd,” will air Feb. 13 in the United States on the A&E Network, with the second, “Lord Edgware Dies,” to follow later.)

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Hercule-an Actor on B'way

You hardly recognize David Suchet when he walks into a room. The man who portrays Hercule Poirot on the hit cable series doesn’t have Poirot’s mustache and hat or Poirot’s Belgian accent, isn’t heavy and isn’t formally dressed.

“Everybody seems surprised when they see me,” the British actor says with a smile, “but I keep getting stopped on the street here in New York by people who recognize me. I don’t know how they do it, but they do.”

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Mystery Man

The English term “yeoman” was once defined variously as a manservant in a royal household and as a person who owns and cultivates a small tract of land. The British actor David Suchet, best known for assaying the role of Agatha Christie’s Belgian gentleman detective Hercule Poirot on the long-running BBC series Poirot, is a yeoman actor in the sense that he learned to serve the material, not his ego, in the royal household of the Royal Shakespeare Company, where we worked from 1972 to 1986; also in that he has cultivated within his short, stout frame the sort of offhandedly formidable acting craft that only years of stage time can produce.

If that sounds like faint praise, it is meant instead to honor Suchet’s unique achievement in building a modestly thriving trans-Atlantic career without a knighthood or the kind of leading-man glamour that typically bring great British actors, from Laurence Olivier to Ewan MacGregor, international attention. The U.S. media are full of solid, unflashy character actors like Suchet—guys like Joe Pantoliano, Charles Dutton, John C. Reilly — but apart from such anomalies as Ben Kingsley or Alan Cumming, the English actors we see cross over successfully typically fit our image of the fine-boned, well-spoken Englishman, or his ruddy-cheeked, foul-toothed Cockney cousin.

David Suchet (known to millions as TV's 'Hercule Poirot')

Poirot is back. And no-one could be happier than David Suchet.

The much-loved British actor stars in two films based on two of Agatha Christie’s most famous novels, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and Lord Edgware Dies, which will arrive on screens as a pair of two-hour specials. The productions team David with his original team, Philip Jackson as Chief Inspector Japp, Hugh Fraser as Captain Hastings, and Pauline Moran as Miss Lemon.

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A Sleuth Seeks Mozart's Nemesis

One of the many ways David Suchet prepares for a theatrical role is by making private lists of the attributes he shares with his character and those he doesn’t. Seeing him without the weight and waxed mustache of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, then it’s fun to imagine what he might have in common with the brainy, pompous, irritating and charming Belgian detective with whom he has become so identified.

It is somewhat more daunting, however, to consider what the 53-year-old Suchet might see of himself in the character of Antonio Salieri, Mozart’s nemesis in Peter Shaffer’s “Amadeus,” which opens at the Ahmanson Theatre today before heading for Broadway.

David makes switch from hero to villain

AGATHA Christie may have hated her creation, the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, but the actor who played what many describe as the definitive Hercule has nothing but affection for the man. David Suchet goes from hero to villain when he appears at the Malvern Theatres next week, playing Salieri in Sir Peter Hall’s production of Amadeus.

I caught up with him just a couple of hours before the curtain went up on the opening night at Bath’s Theatre Royal.

Now in his 30th year, he has consistently attracted the plaudits of critics, hence the long list of awards and nominations which accompany the bewildering number of plays, shows and films.

David Suchet, aka Hercule Poirot, takes on a Biblical role

So here’s this actor, David Suchet, claiming it was him playing Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot these past six years on PBS’ “Mystery!”

Nah. Had to be the real thing. Poirot on TV was, after all, just as a Christie reader would picture the detective, from his precisely barbered mustache to his perfectly exasperating ego.

A mere impersonation? C’mon. Here’s Mr. Suchet appearing as Aaron in the TNT miniseries “Moses,” and there’s not a whit of resemblance between the Old Testament figure and the Belgian sleuth.

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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Darren Dalglish // londontheatrearchive.co.uk

This play by Edward Albee has transferred to the Aldwych after a sell out run at the Almeida and you can see why. This is a great production with a superb cast.

The play is about a frustrated, explosive woman called Martha, who taunts her quiet, stewing husband, George, about his failures in life. However, when Nick & Honey, a young married couple, come to visit for a drink late in the evening, they get entwined in Martha and George’s hurtful games that they play.

Who knows the real David Suchet?

It’s just as well that the bar of the theatre where I’m due to meet David Suchet is almost empty, because I realise, to my embarrassment, that I haven’t a clue what this most distinguished of character actors looks like. But then, who does?

As Hercule Poirot, he spent six years concealed behind that ridiculous waxed moustache; in Blott on the Landscape, he was hidden by a stubby little Hitler number, beetle brows and a black beret; as Freud, inevitably, he wore a beard; as Verloc, in The Secret Agent, he was disguised by a pair of eyebrows like dead mice; and for his tour de force as the professsor in David Mamet’s Oleanna, he bore a startling resemblance to the play’s director, Harold Pinter.

Howls of pain from the marital bearpit

Charles Spencer // Daily Telelegraph

I was an innocent teenager when I first came across Edward Albee’sWho’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and it knocked me for six. Did adults really behave like that? Shout like that? Swear like that? Above all drink like that? Not in our house they didn’t.

But works first encountered in adolescence tend to lose their shine in later years. A couple of duff productions persuaded me that the play wasn’t actually that good. What had once seemed wild and daring now looked melodramatic. And weren’t George and Martha, the warring couple at the centre of this booze-fuelled battle, more like a pair of screaming queens than a real-life husband and wife? This outstanding new production, starring Diana Rigg and David Suchet at the very top of their form, still doesn’t quite convince me that this 1962 play, later filmed with Burton and Taylor, is a modern masterpiece.

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© 2001—2014. Texts by Daria Pichugina, Adelka
© 2001—2014. Translated by Adelka, Kim Dolce, Elena Ukhina et al.

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