A sixty year old mystery

The Mousetrap

The New Alexandra Theatre

****

AGATHA Christie’s The Mousetrap is a deliciously thrilling production dripping with suspense and mystery.

Perhaps that is one of the many reasons the production is the longest running show in the history of theatre. Christie’s still popular appeal is built on enthralling murder mysteries that allow the imaginations to tick and this production with its wonderful cast teamed with Christie’s unique talent of storytelling, makes for an enjoyable and  entertaining experience.

After seeing this production, it is no wonder that the show has it has had a strong run for 60 years and counting. Even Christie herself could not fathom its success, as she felt her own masterpiece would only last eight weeks at most.

It may seem like a seemingly regular story of having to work out the person responsible for a murder, however this is an Agatha Christie play.

Set during a frightfully awful winter’s night in Monkswell Manor, a country house run as a bed and breakfast by a young couple, the Ralstons.

They welcome a motley collection of gusts, some unexpected, some unwanted, along with the news that someone in the house is a murderer. It is now up to them to discover who.

The script however proves to be no regular murder mystery plot. Christie gives no warning signs of whodunit which creates an enthusiastic buzz from the audience in the interval. Unless you have seen this play before, there are no clues until it is too late and the plot is revealed right at the very end.

The set is quite impressive. The large reception hall where all the action is seen gives an early 20th century atmosphere with tall walls and dark wooden furnishings. This lavish detail only adds to the authenticity of the show’s plot. The scale of the room makes us feel the chill of the winter and the snap of Christie’s plot all the more.

One reason we were kept on the edge of our seats for the entirety of the show was the portrayal of each character. Each person of this tight-knit cast of eight had an equally important role in the revealing of the plot as we discovered more of their characters and their motives.

Helen Clapp shows a surge of feminity as she drives the plot along with her portrayal of Mollie Ralston with Henry Luxembour as husband Giles while Stephen Yeo plays the part of a flamboyant Christopher Wren, who provides a refreshing spark of humour and charm.

Anne Kavanagh shines as the cantankerous Miss BoyleEach character has their own story to tell which shows both individual talent and fine work as an ensemble, bringing real power to Christie’s unsuspecting storyline.

And then there is that secret covenant between cast and audience, a binding agreement of more than 60 years to reveal neither plot nor murderer beyond the theatre walls, creating a bond as strong now as when the curtain first rose on Monkswell Manor in 1952. To 11-10-14

Elizabeth Halpin

07-10-14 

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