By: Suzanne Cleave, TRP Reviewer
The most famous ‘Whodunnit’ in theatre history, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap is embarking on a 70th anniversary tour.
The Mousetrap holds the record for the longest running play in the world, and audiences at the Theatre Royal Plymouth turned sleuths to try and work out who the killer could be!
Set on a snowy night, we are introduced to Giles and Mollie Ralston (played by Laurence Pears and Joelle Dyson) at their guest house, Monkswell Manor. Only married a year, the couple are making last minute preparations for their guests to arrive.
The stage evokes the era in which it is set, with roaring fire and oak panelled rooms, comfortable floral patterned sofa and armchair. The flickering lights and falling snowflakes outside the window add to the ambiance.
As the radio broadcasts news of a murder in London, a group of expected and unexpected guests take turns to walk through the door.
There’s Christopher Wren (played brilliantly by Elliot Clay), the young, playful architect, who is full or energy and wants nothing more than to help Mrs Ralston in the kitchen. The stuffy Mrs Boyle, played by Only Fools and Horses star Gwyneth Strong and retired Major Metcalf, played by Eastenders star Todd Carty, both of whom bring a maturity to the guest list. Then there’s the brisk Miss Casewell (Essie Barrow) and the hilarious and mysterious Mr Paravicini (played by Kieran Brown), who seems to keep all of his cards close to his chest.
Joseph Reed gives a great performance as Detective Sgt Trotter, who makes his way to the house following the murder, which occurred only a few miles away. He warns the Ralstons and their guests that one of them may be next!
Each character is interviewed and scrutinised and in doing so, we discover more about their character and their own secrets. The cast was fantastic and despite its amazingly long run, they brought the script alive and kept it feeling fresh.
There are plenty of red herrings, twists and turns and lots of humour as well as suspense. The audience are kept guessing right up until the end!
After the killer is revealed, they step forward to ask the audience to keep the secret going, a secret that has been held in the hearts of thousands of theatre goers for 70 years. Now I’m one of them, and my lips are sealed!