If you don’t know much about the world’s longest running play, Agatha’s Christie’s ‘The Mousetrap’ is now in its 63rd year of production and is therefore understandably described by St Martin’s Theatre as a “great piece of theatrical history”. Set in the early 1950s, we are quickly drawn in to the story as we hear that there is a murderer on the loose and that he may well be at Monkswell Manor – the newly opened country guest house where five intriguing characters have just turned up and (quite conveniently for the purposes of a murder mystery) all got snowed in with just two hosts and one detective.
As we watch the events unravel and learn about the characters, we see a number of possible clues and more than one red herring. There were a few moments where I actually felt quite pleased with myself for spotting some subtle clue – only to have any smugness quashed when one of the characters highlighted what I’d noticed moments earlier and made it clear it was not going to lead to the murderer. Never mind.
‘The Mousetrap’ offers both suspense and wit – maintaining a consistently tense and thrilling atmosphere thoroughout, but also containing frequent bursts of energy and clever humour. The cantankerous Mrs Boyle can be particularly relied on to amuse. Performed fantastically by Audrey Palmer, her constant remarks on everything and everyone being, quite frankly, not good enough make us chuckle from the moment she arrives onstage. I also particularly enjoyed the energetic and witty exchange between Henry Devas and Ian Targett when Detective Sergeant Trotter is interrogating the enigmatic Mr Paravinci.
But did I guess whodunnit? Well, I did have some suspicions yes. But I have to admit, I was kept wracking my brains until the very end of this wonderful production, and there was more than one twist I hadn’t worked out before all was revealed. ‘The Mousetrap’ could well keep audiences intrigued for some years more to come.
So am I going to give away any clues? Certainly not – you’ll just have to go and see it yourself!
Reviewed by: Rachel Callaghan
Photo: Dave Wise
The Mousetrap is currently booking until 7 January 2017 at the St Martin’s Theatre. Click here to book tickets