The Mousetrap by Dame Agatha Christie had the longest initial run of any play in history. After opening in the West End of London in 1952 it is now celebrating its record 60th Anniversary and is still attracting large audiences to find out who did it.
A young couple, Mollie and Giles Ralston, have recently opened a guesthouse and all of their new residents arrive one by one during a snowstorm. The weather gets so bad-the house becomes cut off and when the first of the victim's bodies is discovered- the group realise that there is a killer among them- but who is it?
The set never changes and there are only eight actors in total- it doesn't sound a lot to work with- but this production is just as absorbing as one that has all the bells and whistles.
Although it is always a treat to see an all singing, all dancing show- I am in awe when a production relies so heavily on the script and the actors to keep the audience transfixed- and they certainly did that last night at the Liverpool Empire Theatre.
The play is filled with red herring after red herring, so just when you think you've guessed who it is- it instantly makes you change your mind.
The thing I liked most about it was how everyone turned on each other after the initial murder and the cabin fever begins to set in. Relationships become stretched as one by one the characters plant a seed of doubt in each other's mind as to who the guilty party is.
The story unfolds in front of you at a delightful pace and things begin to fall into place- but only as and when Christie wants them to.
The script was well balanced- examining each character one at time so they had nowhere to hide and so the audience could learn more about their backstory and possible motivation for the murder.
For fans of An Inspector Calls, And Then There Were None and Dead Simple- this play will not disappoint.
The cast included Anna Andresen (Mollie Ralston), Nick Barclay (Giles Ralston), Tony Boncza (Major Metcalf), Lewis Collier (Sgt Trotter), Gregory Cox (Mr Paravicini), Amy Downham (Miss Casewell) and Oliver Gully (Christopher Wren) join Louise Jameson as Mrs Boyle. It would be unfair of me to pick any one of these actors out for a special mention because each of them was a perfect fit for their character.
The strength of this play lies in the diversity of the characters as they all have their secrets and very different motivations and reactions to the situation. The interplay between them all is quite simply captivating.
It is clear to see why this play has stood the test of time- although it is set within the 1950's- the complications they face are still relevant today. I believe this is why it is so popular with both the young and old.
I cannot find fault with The Mousetrap- it was stripped back acting at its best and I loved every minute of it.
Tagged in Liverpool Empire Theatre