NORTH OF FORBES by Tammy Ryan. Pittsburgh Public Theater, streams March 18 – 21.
Great fictional detectives tend to stalk quietly onto the stage, making their presence known only with time. Sherlock Holmes’ first appearance in print was little noted; Philip Marlowe evolved gradually from earlier versions of himself; and Dashiell Hammett’s anonymous Continental Op never even acquired a name. One exception: Hercule Poirot. The cerebral Belgian became an instant star when author Agatha Christie scored a hit with her first detective novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. And now, 101 years later, playwright Tammy Ryan gives us a Pittsburgh-ized adaptation of Poirot and Styles. Ryan’s North of Forbes streams to your screen as part of Pittsburgh Public Theater’s online PlayTime series, Classics N’at. The North of Forbes district is considered an upscale area of Squirrel Hill, just as Styles Court was an upscale manor in 1920, so that fits. But many questions remain. Will “Poirot” be pronounced the French/Belgian way or the Yinzer way, a la North Versailles? Will the strychnine that poisons the victim be slipped into a craft brew, a local coffee, or a vegan pastry? Find out with a virtual ticket to North of Forbes for $10 or more. (M.V.)