Monday, 6 October 2014


Now into it's 62nd year in the West End, The Mousetrap continues it's 60th Anniversary tour that began in 2012. The incredibly popular play opened in 1952 and has been running continuously ever since for over 25,000 performances and is the longest running production of the modern era. 

The beautiful set is the wood-panelled sitting room of Monkswell Manor of which is almost identical to the London production. The manor house, left by an aunt, opens as a guest house ran by Giles and Mollie Ralston (Henry Luxemburg and Helen Clapp). A murder is announced on the radio and as with all Christie plays, one by one the guests are revealed as potential culprits.

With each of the suspects, is every type of character in The Mousetrap, partly what manages to keep audience interest in what could be an awfully static piece. The play is also wonderfully structured, the stage time of each character is perfectly waited and the first to enter is the energetic and schizophrenic architect Christopher Wren, not the one responsible for St Paul's Cathedral... Stephen Yeo is responsible for bringing most of the humour to the production as Wren, which is always necessary in a play like this,  there's a lot of explanation going on. Henry Luxemburg is full of frustration as the husband to Helen Clapp's excellent Mollie. Clapp is increasingly fraught as the mystery progresses, working through red herrings and plot twists to produce a character most eating of your sympathy. Luke Jenkins delivers as Detective Sergeant Trotter and clearly enjoys this particularly interesting character.  Anne Kavanagh is at fight sight a kindly old lady but quickly asserts her battle-axe Mrs Boyle whilst keeping a friendly smile - a perfect, textbook Christie character. The charming Michael Fenner is a humorous addition as Mr Paravicini.

The Mousetrap is hardly gruesome but what is most captivating about this murder mystery is a clever resolution, with no clear path until the final seconds, it keeps you guessing until the end. By tradition, audiences are told at the final curtain that they have become partners in crime and must continue to preserve the secret of whodunit just like the thousands in the 62 years previous. If you want to know, you'll just have to go. Solve the mystery at Birmingham's New Alexandra Theatre until Saturday 11 October. Book here.

View the trailer:

Cast List: Helen Clapp, Michael Fenner, Christopher Gilling, Luke Jenkins, Anne Kavanagh, Charlotte Latham, Henry Luxemburg, Stephen Yeo, Tessa Gallagher, John Gould, Jack Lewis, Maria McColgan

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