mousetrap cast

The Mousetrap

Belgrade Theatre, Coventry


THE Mousetrap comes back to the Belgrade ‘by popular demand’ as part of the Diamond Anniversary Tour.

Agatha Christie herself said this play would last eight months in the West End but it has broken all records.

It first appeared in 1952 – older than me! It creaks a bit (as do I), but even with the whiff of red herrings and moth balls, it doesn’t disappoint.

The doyenne of whodunits Agatha Christie is as popular as ever and it’s basically a brilliantly gripping story engagingly and entertainingly told.

There’s no Poirot or Miss Marple but it still works well and Miss Christie herself explains its endurance with the fact that it’s a play that anyone can enjoy. Nothing really nasty happens. Mrs Boyle, the nit-picking magistrate who sent the children to the farm in the first place, gets her comeuppance.

In a saga of child abuse that sadly remains contemporary. The surviving children of Longridge Farm that nestles next to the newly opened Monkswell Hall Guest House avenge the death of their little brother at the hands of their cruel adoptive parents. The leit motif of the nursery rhyme tune Three Blind Mice becomes a haunting refrain as the murderer seeks revenge.

Guests arrive in quick succession during a blizzard at the Edwardian pile (great set!) of newly married hostess Mollie Ralston (Esther McAuley) and husband Giles (Alex Wadham): energetic but possibly unbalanced Christopher Wren (a very watchable Edward Elgood), pompous know-all Mrs Boyle (Anne Kavanagh), steady Major Metcalfe (William Ilkley), and elegant but uncooperative young Miss Casewell (Hester Arden).

Then Mr Paravacini (Jonathan Sidgwick) an unexpected guest arrives who claims to have rolled his Roller into a ditch.

The phone rings to announce the arrival of the police after a shock murder in London of the adoptive mother of said children. Sergeant Trotter (Luke Jenkins) appears through the window complete with skis. Someone has cut the phone lines!

No one is telling anyone of their involvement in anything . . . but everyone is suspicious of everyone else. And their dwindling respect for each other, the death of annoying Mrs Boyle, under the Sergeant’s nose, puts a colossal strain on the household’s jangling nerves. It’s clever, compulsive and compelling and of course I’m not saying who dunit . . . . it’s more than my life’s worth. The Mousetrap, directed by Ian Watt-Smith runs so 14-11-15

Jane Howard


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