The Mousetrap: Review

Its time to put your sleuthing skills to the test, as we mark the 70th anniversary of Agatha Christie’s ‘The Mousetrap’

The Mousetrap: Review

If, like me, you are a novice to the theatre - Agatha Christie’s: ‘The Mousetrap’ is the perfect introduction to all the excitement and thrill that theatre has to offer. With its intricate sets and intriguing characters, you are sure to be immersed in the highs and lows, the twists and the turns that compromise a perfect Christie classic - and, as one would expect, leave you anticipating - 'who did do it?’.

Set in 1952, this bittersweet play follows newlyweds Mollie and Giles Ralston as they venture into the hospitality world in the form of a guesthouse called Monkswell Manor.  With the eerie promise of a ferocious storm sweeping in, the young couple await the arrival of their first new resident, however the storm is soon to become the least of their worries as news of a murder graces the doors of the manor.

The set designers did a sensational job balancing the aesthetics of the stage whilst also ensuring the cliché theatre gags such as the ‘magical’ never ending staircases were not missed. 

I couldn’t help but notice how beautifully lighting had been utilized throughout the play to enhance the deceptive nature of murder mysteries. From the moment the curtains are lifted the audience are comforted by the warming light of the glowing fireplace, lulling the unsuspecting into feeling at home and safe within the manor walls. However, we know this to not be true as mere seconds later the crackle of a radio breaks the silence with the report of our first murder, and the mystery begins.

One of the main appeals of this play in my opinion was the enthusiasm shown by the cast. From pompous, middle-aged women (Judith Rae) to aloof travellers (Amy Spinks) the play really has something for everyone. I want to give a special mention to the character Christopher Wren (Shaun McCourt), an eccentric young man whose peculiar behavior gave rise to much laughter from both me and the rest of the audience throughout - helped in part by his dulcet lullaby tones. 

Although there are many aspects to this play that I felt were incredibly executed I do feel like the final half fell slightly short of what it could have been, this was wholly due to the jarring change in pace. One of my favourite things about a murder mystery is that slow burn of you piecing together who it might be and then the glorious moment when ‘it’ dawns on you. However, I did not quite get that from this play, whilst the promise of it was doubtlessly at its fingertips. Everything became very chaotic in the end as though they were rushing to tie together the different sub-plots, ultimately leaving me feeling overwhelmed and honestly kind of disappointed after the impressive commitment to story telling and character development which was so intricately showcased in the first half. 

This being said, it by no means marred my experience, and whilst it may seem a critique - I simply wanted more of the play! Whether you are a theatre newbie like myself or a seasoned vet to the joys of the theatrical world; I would definitely recommend going to see ‘The Mousetrap’. The play explored some really powerful ideals surrounding the importance of collective responsibility and the value of coming to terms with your past, wrapped up in the genre of comedic thriller Agatha Christie does so well. A well earned 7/10 for me!

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Carmen Wiggan

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