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David Suchet: A Retrospective
12th December 2021
We invite audiences to experience a rare opportunity with one of the world’s most celebrated and fascinating actors of our time. Join us in conversation with the man, the actor and his many roles in an unmistakably unique event. A retrospective look at David’s career will have you witness some of his most beloved performances in a new and intimate light.
For over 25 years he captivated millions worldwide as Agatha Christie’s elegant Belgian detective. Beyond Poirot, this Emmy and Olivier award winning actor has been celebrated for his portrayal of iconic roles such as Lady Bracknell, Cardinal Benelli and Freud. David has also graced the world’s stages bringing literary greats to life, including Shakespeare, Wilde and Albee.
Meet the actor behind the detective and the many faces he’s portrayed on stage and screen over a career spanning five decades. Discover why David Suchet is renowned for not only becoming the role, but also taking on the personalities of some of television, film and theatre’s most fascinating characters.
In one extraordinary sense, the discrepancy between David Suchet the man and
David Suchet, the creator of Hercule Poirot, the canny, fussy little Belgian detective,
scarcely seems to exist, if you take away the famous walk and the silver-topped walking
stick, you come to the actor himself, and this is who, quite recently,
filled Malvern's huge Forum Theatre to the intense delight of hundreds
of people, many of whom had travelled many miles to see one of the finest
actors of this generation.
Suchet ( we must now say Sir David) has the magical ability to "hold you in his eye" -an 18th century phrase
used by the great 18th century actor David Garrick. I sat some distance from the stage,
yet the feeling was that this accomplished actor was talking to me personally from a few feet away
Olivier could do it, Paul Scofield could do it, Judy Dench can do it and the late Antony Sher could
do it and actually did it in an RSC production of "Macbeth" where, in a breathtaking removal of the
theatrical "fourth wall" he stepped down from the Swan theatre's open stage and sat a couple of
feet away from this reviewer for the "Tomorrow and tomorrow" speech. The effect was electrifying
and it is an extraordinary thing to experience, since for long minutes you lose all feeling of
Time and Space and enter the world the actor is presenting to you.
And Suchet achieved it twice in a totally magical way, during this fascinating evening.
We tend to forget the fact that Sir David is also a teacher in the arts of the theatre. He may well discuss
posture, costume or the use of music in a performance structure, since he knows these disciplines well,
having trained at L.A.M.D.A. ( The London Academy of Dramatic Art ). where I too learned my acting skills,
before I too entered the theatre professionally.
But during this splendid evening he chose the arts of speech, articulation ( so sadly lacking in many actors today who rely
on throat mikes rather than natural voice production) "Lean on the words, let them take you along, breathe from the
diaphragm until the voice is carried on a cushion of air , said this great actor, and so took us with him into one or
two of his acclaimed roles, notably his Shylock from "The Merchant of Venice", a character he endowed with
a certain patient humility ( "For suffering is the badge of all our tribe...").
The applause was thunderous for this theatrical treat, and his selection from "The Tempest"where Caliban speaks
of his grievances against Prospero,but even more so for the beautifully-shaped clip from Peter Shaffer's "Amadeus", where Suchet raged against the injustice of God, for endowing his contemporary, Mozart, a silly, giggling little clown, with glorious genius, whilst he, Salieri, was given so little.
And notice this--when Suchet delivered his lines ( without a throat mike, or so I believe) every word had weight and clarity.
Once again Malvern gave us a master class in the art of the theatre, as was the case recently when Ian MacDiarmid appeared here
in "The Lemon Table" and, of course when' in July, Ralph Fiennes in a one-man performance gave us a perfectly-delivered "The Four Quartets."
But everyone has a family, everyone has a grandmother or father, a father or a mother to help shape
our beginings.Suchet spoke of a fan dancer in his family who always encouraged him in his bid for a career in the theatre, he spoke
of his various boarding schools and much later in his life of the creation of Poirot, a character (thanks to Suchet and the television
franchise), now known world wide.
In many ways Suchet gave us the fine actor he is, he stripped away the illusion and finally showed us Suchet the man with a
heart pumping real blood, a heart filled with courtesy and a great deal of understanding and human kindness.