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David Suchet is known for playing a mustachioed Belgian sleuth in "Poirot." But onstage in Toronto in the Vatican-based drama ...
"The Last Confession," the actor tackles issues of faith he says are close to his heart.
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British actor David Suchet, star of the long-running detective series "Agatha Christie's Poirot,'' is reprising his role as Giovanni Cardinal Benelli in the papal play "The Last Confession" for an international tour that kicks off Saturday in Toronto.Running at Mirvish Productions' Royal Alexandra Theatre, the Roger Crane show looks at the circumstances surrounding the mysterious 1978 death of John Paul I, who was pope for only 33 days.Suchet, a British Academy Television Award nominee, first starred in the project in 2007 at the Chichester Festival Theatre and then at Theatre Royal Haymarket in London.On the world tour, the 67-year-old stars alongside London native Richard O'Callaghan under the direction of Jonathan Church.Suchet talked to The Canadian Press about the show and his character, who was a close friend of John Paul I.CP: Since your initial reading of the script 10 years ago, a lot has changed — we've had different popes and the current one seems to be more in line with the pontiff depicted in this story.Suchet: If you look at John Paul I, who was commonly known as the People's Pope or ... the Smiling Pope ... he was a very liberal pope. He was going to do many, many things. He was addressing contraception ... he was going to look into possible areas of allowing, in certain circumstances, euthanasia ... and even women in the church. He was going to readdress that. ... Of course the conservatives didn't like it and then after his death, we have ... on the surface a liberal pope because he agreed with ... the Second Vatican Council, which was going to be much more liberal, which was supported by John Paul II.John Paul II turned out to be a less liberal pope than people may have suspected, and then after his death we got Benedict, who was very, very conservative and was not happy, not happy at all, and he was very elderly and very ill and he still is. He's a very, very dear man, but I think all that child abuse scandal got too much for the church at that time.And we have Pope Francis, we have the People's Pope back, we have the Smiling Pope back. ... We have the pope that won't live in the papal apartments, who travels on public transport and is driving the conservatives bananas again. We have almost an identical situation.