Writer: Agatha Christie
Director: Ian Watt-Smith
Reviewer: Vicki Goodwin
Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap needs very little in the way of introduction. Written more than sixty years ago it holds the honour of being the longest running play in the world and has its resident home in London’s West End. After last nights production, it’s easy to understand why the crime classic is still drawing large audiences.
We join the mystery at Monkswell Manor where newlyweds Giles and Mollie Ralston (Nick Barclay and Anna Andresen) are welcoming an array of visitors into their new guesthouse, the set of which is beautifully designed – all wood paneling and Victoriana, perfect for this evenings tale to unfold as snow falls outside. The guests are ushered in one by one as the demanding realities of running the Manor begin to dawn on the nervy Mollie.
There’s the flamboyant Christopher Wren whose charming exuberance is flawlessly portrayed by the fantastic Oliver Gully. Then there’s the stern Mrs Boyle (Louise Jameson) who finds fault with everyone and everything in her vicinity. Major Metcalf (Tony Boncza) seems like he can handle just about anything, and then there’s Miss Casewell (Amy Downham) who certainly appears to be haunted by someone or something. Add in a mysterious foreigner, Gregory Cox’s Mr Paravicini, and the stage is set with the perfect whodunnit.
There’s lots to sink your teeth into with this one. A murdered woman found strangled in London. A local tragedy that still haunts those involved, and an interesting array of characters, who are all seemingly linked, but by what? Then there’s Sgt Trotter (LewisCollier) who doesn’t understand why everyone seems to be hiding things… things they won’t admit even to themselves. Christie knew how to bring an ensemble together through the writing and that core element is certainly present with this current cast.
This touring anniversary production glides along with the confident security of knowing that they are giving the audience a production that feels genuinely thrilling. There are plenty of twists and turns, and some moments that are surprisingly dark. Still there’s lots to laughalong with, and a mystery that will keep you guessing.
Age has done very little to lessen the trill of watching the iconic whodunnit, if anything it’s added to its legend. The perfect play for those who like to be kept on their toes. Fantastic.
Runs until Saturday 23 April 2016 | Image: Contributed