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The Mousetrap – Woverhampton Grand

Writer: Agatha Christie

Director: Ian Watt-Smith

Reviewer: Bethaney Rimmer

[Rating:4.5]

The Mousetrap Grand Theatre Helen MaybanksAgatha Christie’s quintessential murder mystery, The Mousetrap, is the longest running production in the world, now in its 60th year of being on stage. To celebrate its diamond anniversary, director Ian Watt-Smith is taking the play on tour, and it can currently be seen at the Wolverhampton Grand.

The Mousetrap is a tense but sometimes comical “whodunnit”, in which eight different people are confined by heavy snowfall in a guest house in the middle of the country: the flamboyant architect, the mysterious Italian who appears out of nowhere, and the self-contained young lady who claims to live in Majorca, to name but a few. When it turns out that there is a murderer among them, suspicions and accusations begin to fly and the guessing game begins. As each character reveals their own pasts and first impressions shrink into insignificance, the puzzle slowly falls into place piece by piece, and the audience are left hanging right until the very last minute before the culprit is revealed.

It is easy to see how this production has been continuously running for so long; the characters are subtly intriguing, the story is intelligent, and the audience can’t help but be drawn in every time the tiniest of clues makes itself known. Not to mention the sinister utilisation of a well-known nursery rhyme that sends shivers down the spine every time it’s whistled out into the auditorium. On the whole, the current touring production does justice to Christie’s work; it is well paced, funny in all the right places and very entertaining. The performances which particularly stand out are Steven France as Christopher Wren, the architect, who provides most of the comedy with his frank honesty and over-excitement, and Bob Saul as Detective Sergeant Trotter, who joins the audience in attempting to separate the lies from the truth. It is also a treat to see Elizabeth Power reprise her rôle as the prim and proper Mrs Boyle. There are, however, a few jarring conversational pauses throughout the production, and the second half holds more excitement than the first, but these things do not by any means prevent the show from being enjoyable.

The set design is effective in making the audience feel as though they too are guests at the house and there is just enough decoration to add to the authenticity without being too distracting from the action. The sound and lighting effects are also put to good use, both to create the feel of the period and tension when necessary.

By the end of the show you will, quite literally, be on the edge of your seat; The Mousetrap is definitely not one to miss.

Runs until: 1st June

Picture: Helen Maybanks

 

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One comment

  1. Avatar
    David Hollings

    I’m a big fan of Agatha Christie, have read the books, seen the TV dramas…with POIROT being my personal favourite.
    So I thought I’d go to The Mousetrap at Wolverhamptons Grand to see why a murder mystery play could last 60 years.

    Apart from the set design, what a thorough disppointment it was for me. The storyline is good, but it’s a murder mystery and too many lines were played for laughs.
    No doubt like many others I was trying to work out who the murderer was. I wanted tension, but as it progressed I wasn’t bothered because some of the acting was extremely poor, particularly the man who played the Police Sergeant…who totally overacted in my view.
    There was no tension created by the characters throughout. I do appreciate that maybe a production of this nature wouldn’t attract the more well known or better actors, but I think that some of the cast just weren’t good enough.
    You can tell if a play has been well received by the amount of audience applause at the end, and curtain calls.
    But it was short and sweet with this performance, with the audience quickly out of their seats to leave.
    All in all a pretty poor night out, and I don’t get the good reviews by the local press.