by Julie Wallis twitter.com/Nicenic63
Caught in the Moustrap
This week the New Alexandra Theatre plays host to the long running success that is Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap. A classic whodunnit murder mystery in the format that was Christies trademark style, with a murder taking place in an isolated location and the murderer being revealed in the parlour at the end.
I’m not going to tell you anything else about the story, I’m the world’s worst secret keeper and I really don’t want to be responsible for any spoilers.
This charming production has just one stage setting which is the wood panelled lounge of a manor house. It is a beautiful set and I really was there with the hosts Mollie and Giles Ralston (Anna Andresen and Nick Barclay) as their five guests arrived. I especially loved the lighting outside the huge window which was supposed to be a snowy day at dusk, so realistic I shivered when the window was opened!
The five guests are all very different characters, Oliver Gully as childlike Christopher, Gregory Cox as the sinister Mr Paravicini, Sarah Whitlock as brusque Mrs Boyle, Amy Downham as slightly damaged Miss Casewell and Tony Boncza as the ever so British Major Metcalf really had fantastic characters to get their acting teeth into. Last to arrive at Monkswell house is Sgt Trotter played by Lewis Collier who causes all the guests to suspect everyone.
I have long wanted to see The Mousetrap, it has, after all been in production since the 1950s. I was aware, that it was a classic whodunnit murder mystery and I am a fan of the “tell everyone to gather in the parlour, I will reveal the murderer”, but what I did not know was this play does have a lot of comedy moments too. The Mousetrap is lighthearted and will not be giving anyone sleepless nights, it is safe to take your grandparents or your children with no fear of graphic violence or bad language. Think Celia Johnson in Brief Encounter, it’s terribly terribly British darling .
At the end of the evening the audience are asked to keep the secret of The Mousetrap. How many times in your life have you seen a play where they ask you that?
At the interval I already had my theory as to who the murderer was, but I also wanted to be wrong as I did want the big reveal to be a surprise. I was wrong and I was very suprised. But knowing the identity of the murderer would not put me off of seeing this again. Somewhat like the Bruce Willis film Sixth Sense I feel that it would be fun to watch a second time from a different perspective .
Many thanks to The New Alexandra Theatre for inviting me to review The Mousetrap on behalf of Brumhour, you were as always perfect hosts for yet another wonderful production.
The Mousetrap is at New Alexandra Theatre until 5th November. Buy tickets here: atgtickets.com/shows/the-mousetrap-2/new-alexandra-theatre-birmingham/