Trouble brewing in this Christie classic

Agatha Christie whodunnit Black Coffee
Agatha Christie whodunnit Black Coffee

In the classic Agatha Christie whodunnit Black Coffee, featuring much-loved super sleuth Hercule Poirot at Manchester Opera House next week, the Belgian detective is played by Jason Durr, best known for his portrayal of PC Mike Bradley in TV’s Heartbeat for six years.

He was most recently at the Opera House playing the lead in 2013’s Sherlock Holmes: The Best Kept Secret.

He’s joined here by an all-star cast including Georgina Leonidas who played the cursed Katie Bell in two Harry Potter movies; Deborah Grant who has starred in numerous TV shows; and Oliver Mellor, who for four years played Dr Matt Carter in Coronation Street.

An English country estate is thrown into chaos following the murder of eccentric inventor Sir Claud Amory, and the theft of his new earth shattering formula.

Arriving at the estate just moments too late, one man immediately senses a potent brew of despair, treachery, and deception amid the estate’s occupants...

It runs from Monday to Saturday with Saturday and Thursday matinees. Box office: 0844 871 3018 or www.atgtickets.com/manchester

A 21st century adaptation of Othello at The Lowry next week promises an electrifying take on Shakespeare’s brutal and gripping thriller-tragedy of paranoia, jealousy, sex and murder.

Fusing the classic text to their trademark hard-hitting choreography, Frantic Assembly’s production is set in Yorkshire during the race riots of 2001.

Othello’s passionate affair with Desdemona leaves him open to jealousy and attack with devastating consequences.

Mark Ebulue, recently of the RSC, will play the title role in this award-winning co-production with Theatre Royal Plymouth.

The role of Iago will be taken by Steven Miller, known for his four-year stint as Lenny Lyons in Casualty (BBC TV), with Kirsty Oswald (The Judas Kiss, The Winter’s Tale) as Desdemona.

The play has been revived for this UK tour, culminating in a four-week London run at the Lyric Hammersmith in January. It runs 90minutes and is for audiences aged 14+.

Box office: 0843 208 6000 or www.thelowry.com

Opera North returns to The Lowry in Salford next week with three shows that have echoes of some of Hollywood’s biggest hits.

La Traviata, The Coronation of Poppea and The Bartered Bride alternate from Tuesday to Saturday.

In Verdi’s romantic opera La Traviata Hye-Youn Lee plays the courtesan to the rich, and meets a young nobleman Alfredo Germont, played by Ji-Min Park.

As in Pretty Woman, they battle to overcome the differences between their worlds as they realise their true love for each other.

Fans of House of Cards may, meanwhile, recognise Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright’s Frank and Claire Underwood in Emperor Nero and Poppea (played by James Laing and Sandra Piques Eddy) a couple corrupted by power and ambition in Monteverdi’s gripping music drama The Coronation of Poppea.

In Czech comic opera The Bartered Bride, the dilemma facing the characters (played by Kate Valentine, Nicholas Watts and Brenden Gunnell), echoes the love triangle in the 1987 film The Princess Bride.

Box office: 0843 208 6000 or www.thelowry.com

Go to the ball in Manchester next week with Northern Ballet’s new production of the ultimate rags to riches fairy tale, Cinderella, at the Palace Theatre.

Duncan Hayler’s set designs transport the audience through a Russian-inspired landscape where Cinderella marvels at the magician and circus performers at the winter fair, finds a moment’s freedom skating on a crystal lake and, magically, arrives at the ball, a palace of elegance and wealth.

It runs from Tuesday to Saturday with Thursday and Saturday matinees. Box office: 0844 871 3019 or www.atgtickets.com/manchester