Written by renowned playwright and author Agatha Christie, The Mousetrap is a murder mystery play. It has been running continuously in London’s West End since first opening in 1952, making it the longest running play in the West End’s history.
The Mousetrap is set in Monkswell Manor, a newly opened guest house run by a young married couple, Mollie and Giles. When Mollie receives a phone call and then a visit by a local police officer, informing them they are in danger and a murder is imminent, everyone becomes a suspect.
The lights dim and opening music from the original English production of The Mousetrap immediately sets the era and tone for the evening, with the first “murder” taking place before the curtains had even parted. When the curtains did open, the detailed and well constructed set (designed by Chris Proctor and John Mills) was immediately met with gasps of awe from the opening night audience. The set was enhanced with a quality lighting and sound design (Robin Le Blond).
Director John Mills has assembled a strong cast of varying experience, but all well-suited to their roles. While there were some moments where a pause between certain lines would create more tension, overall this was a well-paced show, with clear diction and will no doubt settle with further performances.
Mills has found the light and shade in the piece, keeping the element of mystery, but ensuring this is also an entertaining night at the theatre.
Julia Lambert and Conor Quinn both deliver strong performances as the young married couple. Thomas O’Hare is delightful as the scatty Christopher Wren, Kate Macfie is perfectly grumpy as Mrs Boyle, Neil Barnett is a commanding Major Metcalfe, Jacqui Cooke is confident and a little mischievious as Miss Casewell, Scott Wallace Baker is a very quirky and intriguing Mr Paravincini, and Robert Lister looks and sounds the stereotypical small town British crime inspector as Detective Trotter.
Both Quinn and O’Hare started in Centrestage, the youth theatre arm of the 1812 Theatre, so it was wonderful to see these two performers now establishing themselves in significant roles in the main theatre program. The future of the 1812 Theatre looks bright.
It was clear from the gasps amongst the audience that very few people had guessed “whodunnit”. While there are some aspects of this murder mystery that might leave you asking “but how did the murderer manage to …?” overall this is a satisfying mystery that will leave the audience guessing till the end.
No spoiler alerts about the plot here! If you want to know what happens, you’ll need to see the play for yourself. As one of the longest running plays in history, it’s worth seeing for that reason alone. Just don’t tell anyone whodunnit!
A number of shows have already sold out, so be quick!