Reviewed by Janine Rumble
The Mousetrap is a murder mystery play written by Dame Agatha Christie, who is considered to be one of the greatest crime writers ever. The Mousetrap is the longest running theatre production, having first opened in London’s West End on 6th October 1952. It has been in continuous production since then, making it the West End’s longest running show.
Last night, I went to watch The Mousetrap directed by Gareth Armstrong at the Royal Theatre in Northampton.
The Mousetrap is a living legend and although I did not know the story beforehand, I thoroughly enjoyed it for the Agatha Christie’s masterpiece that it was. It was a classic murder mystery whodunnit that kept the audience on the edge of their seats with guessing who the culprit was until the very end. The play, set in one murderous night in a newly opened guest house is a very clever play, revealing little by little about the characters as the murder mystery unfolds. In classic Agatha Christie style, the audience is led on a mystery journey, where you cannot help but be drawn into the lives of the characters, leading you to guess who the murderer is and suspecting all of the characters at some point during the play.
The small cast of eight were wonderful. Nick Biadon and Harriet Hare, played the guest house owners, Giles and Mollie Ralston. Gwyneth Strong, played Mrs Boyle, David Alcock played Mr Paravicini, Lewis Chandler played Christopher Wren, John Griffiths played Major Metcalf and Saskia Vaigncourt-Strallen played Miss Casewell, all were residents of the guest house on the fateful night, with Geoff Arnold playing Sgt Trotter, the policeman trying to solve the murder mystery.
The play begins with Giles and Mollie Ralston excitedly opening up their home, Monkswell Manor as a guest house and welcoming their first guests. A strange group of people, who upon first meeting them, all seem normal, but as the play progresses you begin to learn more about each of them, making you question their innocence and their role in the mystery. The play becomes intense as you realise that they are snowed in and cut off from the outside world and one of them is a murderer. The play is not all murder and mystery, there are some light hearted moments which make you laugh, these come from the characters of Christopher Wren and Mr Paravicini, who offer much needed light relief during some of the tenser moments of the play.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable play set in the 1950s, with costumes and scenery to match. The stage was set to the main room of the grand house, with doors going off the stage to represent the different rooms in the house. The stage is used to great effect and as the scenery never changes you feel like you are sat in the room with them, watching the saga unfold.
I would definitely recommend watching this play, but once you know who the murderer is (I guessed in the interval who it was) you take an oath by watching not to share that knowledge with anyone who has not seen the show. You do not have to be a fan of Agatha Christie’s or her works, but if you do like them, then you will definitely like this show as it has all of the elements you would expect from a classic Agatha Christie whodunnit.
Tickets cost from £11 (booking fees may apply).
The Mousetrap is at the Royal & Derngate in Northampton from 4-9 February 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.royalandderngate.co.uk or call the box office on 01604 624811.
Royal & Derngate, Guildhall Road, Northampton, NN1 1DP | 01604 624811