Note: Reviewer, Debra Hall, attended the press night showing of The Mousetrap on Monday 4th November at The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry in an official capacity on behalf of Remotegoat Stage and can be viewed here
I happened to fall upon a friend in The Belgrade’s foyer, while chatting she said her birthday years always matched the anniversaries of this great play. She told me that at the age of 25, she had seen the show, in London, during the year of its Silver Anniversary, and now, in the month in which she will celebrate her 60th and it being The Mousetrap’s Diamond Anniversary year (60 years), she had come to see it once again, this time on its first ever UK tour. Suddenly, the longevity of The Mousetrap run, struck home with me when I thought about it in those terms.
So history dictates that The Mousetrap has never faced a decline in popularity and after seeing last night’s performance I can see many reasons why this is so appealing. The first point is its defined clarity, and by that I mean there are no problems to overcome in its structure. Yes, it is a thriller, but, while it is not really that scary; it is riveting. There is no central character, so you find your eyes falling, suspiciously, upon each player in turn. The etchings on the windows through which we see the snowflakes falling outside, the soft furnishings, and the cosy fire burning in the grate, warms and soothes us – and we know we are in for a treat, for sure. There is no controversy, no politics; no sex; and violence is largely kept under wraps. The script is unrevealing, so we know we cannot close loopholes, and that we must wait for that twist to enlighten us. In essence, this is drama perfected.
Anne Kavanagh plays the nit-picking, always complaining Mrs Boyle to ‘the book’ and the two house guests Mr Paravicini and Christopher Wren are characters that deliver many of the lighter moments, played by actors Karl Howman and Ryan Saunders respectively. And all round – a great cast.
Christie’s signature is the converging of suspects in a sitting room of an old house who are principally answerable to the…”Do You?” “Where were you? “Was she? Or ”Wasn’t he?” lead in style of questioning by a keen Detective doing his investigating…
…and we like it too, to see those evading the giving of clear answers to those questions (in order to confuse us), when they’ll say (in defiance) “And what if I was? So what!” This is the Christie template that we never seem to tire of, and we probably never will. So here is to the next 60 years of performing Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap!
The Mousetrap theatre tour continues 2013/2014 for dates visit www.MousetrapOnTour.com
The cast includes returning company member Karl Howman (Brush Strokes) as Mr Paravicini alongside: Joanna Croll (Sirens, Doctors) as Mollie Ralston, Ellie Jacob (DCI Banks, Misfits) as Miss Casewell, Christopher Gilling (ITV’s Law and Order, BBC1’s Silk) as Major Metcalf, Anne Kavanagh (Chichester Festival Theatre’s Goodnight Mr Tom, August: Osage County at the National Theatre) as Mrs Boyle, Henry Luxemburg (Hollyoaks, Hotel Babylon) as Giles Ralston, Ryan Saunders (Sweet Bird of Youth at the Old Vic, The History Boys UK tour) as Christopher Wren and Jonathan Woolf (Travelling Light at the National Theatre) as Sgt Trotter.
***** FIVE STARS AWARDED