Tuesday, 12 February 2013

The Mousetrap (60th Anniversary UK Tour)

The Mousetrap is the longest running play in the history of theatre. It's been running for 60 years and 2013 is its diamond anniversary. It's weird to think that it's been around for as long as our Queen Elizabeth has reigned! To celebrate the play has now gone on tour for the first time ever and I saw it in Birmingham last weekend. I really like Agatha Christie and even though I've only read about 5 or 6 of her books I do plan on reading a lot more of her works. Also, I figured that since this play has been running for 60 years that it must be doing something right! Agatha Christie thought it would only last 8 months! I did like The Mousetrap. I wouldn't say it's the best and most enjoyable piece of theatre I've ever seen but I still really liked it. It's clever and has a well-plotted and well-written murder-mystery story. There's some really good comedy in it as well. Sadly one of my seminar teachers at Uni gave away who the murderer was a few years back but I still really liked it and it didn't spoil the play for me. I wouldn't dream of giving away who the murderer was in in this review though! The play had a few other twists in it as well and some of those I didn't get so that was good.

The play takes place entirely at a recently converted country guest house called Monkswell Manor, which is about 30 miles outside of London. The Manor is being run by a young married couple called the Ralstons. Four guests then arrive at the Manor. There's an outrageously camp, flamboyant man called Christopher Wren. There's a demanding woman called Mrs Boyle. There's a nice man who's recently retired from the army called Major Metcalf. There's a mysterious woman called Miss Casewell who seems to have had a deeply unhappy childhood, and a man from Italy called Mr Paravicini. As you'd expect from an Agatha Christie work, all of these guests has a secret and no-one is quite what they seem. This includes the Ralstons. Everyone then becomes snowed-in at Monskwell Manor because of a huge snow storm that is battering the south of England. However, a police officer called Detective Sergeant Trotter is able to get to the Manor on skis. He announces that there's been a murder in London and that he believes the murderer is planning to kill two people at the Manor, as an act of revenge for a famous child abuse case.

I thought most of the actors in the play were really good. The standouts for me were Bob Saul as Sergeant Trotter, Elizabeth Power as Mrs Boyle (the only actor in this production who'd been in The Mousetrap before) and Steven France as Mr Wren. Even Bruno Langley was decent in this! I couldn't stand him in Doctor Who but that's probably my dislike of his character Adam coming through! The only actors who weren't so good in this play were Karl Howman as Mr Paravicini and Jemma Walker as Mollie Ralston. Howman was funny but his Italian accent was a bit, er, all over the place! He was able to get away with that though because the character was supposed to be duplicitous and possibly in disguise. Jemma Walker was by no means horrible but she was a bit over-the-top in places.

The play also had some really good costumes and excellent lighting. The set was great. There's only one set for the entire play but it's a really good set! I recommend The Mousetrap. I can't see it being a play that I'd want to see over and over again but it's good fun and enjoyable.

Rating: 4/5

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