Conspiracy theories will always abound about Pope John Paul I’s death. Never accepted into his sudden position of power after the death of Pope John XXIII, speculation festered about how he met his maker, especially among those closest to him during his brief 33 day reign in the Vatican in 1978. The Last Confession examines the unsolved crime, if in fact a crime was committed?
The performance is momentarily paused as David Suchet, famed for his role in over 70 Agatha Christie films, commands applause as he enters the stage. Playing Benelli Cardinal of Florence, he advocates political corrected-ness to a tee as he is neither villain nor hero. In failing health himself with nothing to lose or gain, he is no saint as he manipulates his advancement within the Church with both Popes just before their deaths.
The Last Confession reveals a multitude of hints (was he poisoned by the paperwork, sweets, the coffee or the foot bath?) and motives to suggest there would be more than one “forgive me father for I have sinned.” The People’s Pope dares to challenge the bans on birth control, the corrupt Vatican bank and sends away those with questionable loyalty. As he refreshingly breathes new life into the church, Richard O’Calloghan plays the unwelcomed Pope in an effeminate manner while subtly raising the subject of homosexuality within the Church.
Many questions remain unanswered but there is no doubt about the relevance of The Last Confession as the same issues continue to be rallied around even to this day. Although insightful into the workings of the Catholic Church, this is a story of power, politics and morality. As suspicions are raised, so are the senses as the comforting aroma of incense and choral music wafts around the grandeur of His Majesty’s Theatre. A holy whodunit, Christie fans will be thrilled.
The Last Confession plays at His Majesty’s Theatre until 16th August 2014