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The Mousetrap

The Mousetrap

Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap is the world’s longest-running play. This thrilling West End production is THE genre-defining murder mystery from the best-selling novelist of all time… case closed!

As news spreads of a murder in London, a group of seven strangers find themselves snowed in at a remote countryside guesthouse. When a police sergeant arrives, the guests discover – to their horror – that a killer is in their midst! One by one, the suspicious characters reveal their sordid pasts. Which one is the murderer? Who will be their next victim? Can you solve this world-famous mystery for yourself?

For almost 70 years, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap has kept millions of people from every corner of the globe on the edge of their seats. Could you be next?

Running Time: Approx. 2 hrs 20 minutes

Age Recommendation: 7+ years old

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Our review on The Mousetrap

The Mousetrap - The Lowry, Salford - Monday 8th April 2024 by Karen Ryder

Our Rating

The world’s longest running play, The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie, has sleuthed its way into Salford for its 70th anniversary tour.  It not only holds the Guiness World Record for the longest running play, but Agatha Christie is also the world’s bestselling author!  Quite the spectacular combination and a powerful aphrodisiac that ensures audiences both new and old are still falling in love with its secrets, mystery, and intrigue.  Over 70 venues are being gifted a visit from this iconic play on its celebratory tour, symbolically including all cities to which it originally played!  The Mousetrap still plays in the West End today, with record breaking performances, selling over 10 million tickets!  

So why is it so popular?  What is its secret?  Well, the fact that the show itself holds a secret, a secret which the audience are welcomed into via the exclusive Mousetrap club and asked to keep, is an undeniably clever twist, and one that many other shows are starting to catch on to.  It gives its audience a sense of belonging, and a delightful kick at knowing something other people don’t know.  As Monkswell Manor is grandly revealed, news spreads of a murder in London.  One by one, guests arrive at this remote countryside estate looking for shelter from the raging storm.  Guarded pleasantries drift through the firelit guesthouse, keeping an uneasy peace, that is until a police sergeant arrives and shatters all illusions.  For there is a killer amongst them.  But who could it be?  What motive could they possibly have?  And how many are they prepared to kill?  Everyone is a suspect, and with good reason, for as we start to learn the truth about each of the guests, it seems everyone has something to hide.

Therein lies the hook of this play.  Whodunnit?  Was it Giles or Mollie Ralston, a seemingly honest couple who inherited Monkswell Manor?  Yet they are evidently hiding something, immediately arousing suspicion.  Or was it Christopher Wren, an enthusiastic and energetic architect who enjoys the beauty of the house and whistling nursery rhymes?  How about the irritable, uncompromising Mrs. Boyle who takes no prisoners with her strong opinions, or retired Major Metcalf who has an affinity for detail, helping others, and optimism?  Maybe it was the dry, aloof business woman Miss Casewell whose sharp and direct manner takes many by surprise.  Could it even be Mr. Paravicini, the unexpected guest whose humour seems so close to the bone that anything is possible?  As police sergeant Trotter arrives on snow ski’s to investigate the murder, the house is full.  But how long will it stay that way?  Is anybody really safe from the storm at Monkswell Manor?

The Mousetrap
is played out in one room, adding an air of murderous mystery.  It arouses suspicions each time a character exits, begging the questions, what they are doing?  Where they have gone?  What are they are talking about?  And will they ever return alive?!  Keeping in with the original 1950’s time frame of the play, this striking set places us in the drawing room of Monkswell Manor.  Imposing wooden panelling adorns every surface, including a large ornate fireplace.  Pictures are scattered across the walls and furniture, with dim lights suppressing the atmosphere further.  A writing desk complete with a wireless and telephone play their part, and the remaining furniture is situated throughout and used to great effect.  The biggest success of the set is the inclusion of six slick and often surprising entrance and exit points.  These drive the story, the intrigue, and the thrill.  Ian Talbot and Denise Silvey’s direction creates the perfect misdirection, with actors swifty manoeuvring between these entrances and exits in the blink of an eye, ensuring that perhaps our attention is not always focused on the right character at the right time.  It is so clever, and leaves you in a heightened state of “What on earth is going on?”  Add into this a lighting design that manages to control your emotional state by the gradual dimming and flickering of lights into cold, hard blackouts.

Holly Sullivan
(Barefoot In The Park, Private Lives) understudied for Neerja Naik as Mollie Ralston and created a multi layered character, who was warm and nurturing.  Her relationships with the various characters each had their unique stance from frustrated to maternal.  She gave a strong and believable transformation from a gentle newly wed to someone capable of asserting strength and determination.  Barnaby Jago (The Beast Of Blue Yonder) as Giles Ralston was fantastic as the stereotypical 1950’s middle class husband.  He was proud of himself and his own importance, yet still gave us a genuine likeability and reason to root for him.  It was a beautifully balanced performance.  Shaun McCourt (The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe, War Horse) as Christopher Wren was a joy to watch with his physical humour, exquisitely readable facial expressions, and infectious energy.  He really allowed the audience to laugh at his over enthusiastic caddish approach, and his likeability was palpable.  He also showed a delicacy to his character via his relationship with Mollie.  A glorious labrador puppy fuelled by Duracell batteries! 

Gwyneth Strong
(Ladies Of Letters, Only Fools & Horses, Eastenders) as Mrs. Boyle had perfectly pitched sarcasm, disapproval and deplorable detest of everything and everyone.  Her voice was dripping with the most gloriously pompous tonality.  It was wonderful to watch and even though you dislike Mrs. Boyle’s unrelenting standards, you kind of can’t help loving her directness too.  Todd Carty (Eastenders, The Bill, Spamalot) as Major Metcalf had the most brilliant character voice that brought the Major to life in an instant.  His bumbling presence, throaty laugh, and his characters intricacies were a true delight to watch and made him an audience favourite every time he came on stage.  He was able to continually surprise and keep you on your toes with a tremendous performance.  Amy Spinks (Shakespeare Nation, Bab’s Big Show) as Miss Casewell portrayed this private, brisk and stand-offish character with ease.  An inner confidence poured out of her, making us believe that Miss Casewell was carrying an intriguing secret.  She oozed a certain kind of charisma and I enjoyed her scenes very much.  Steven Elliot (Frankenstein, The Crown, numerous RSC) as Mr. Paravicini was a joy to behold.  His outlandishness and unpredictability are a force to be reckoned with, and allowed him to hold the audience in the palm of his charming hand.  Whether it be his corrupt sense of humour, a brilliantly timed one liner, a wink and a nudge to the audience, or his physicality, it was a treat every time he was on stage.  Elliot knows how to milk the most out of each word, each phrase, each look, and he draws the audience into his fun world time and time again with energetic ease.  Michael Ayiotis (Teechers, The Mountain & Me) as Detective Sgt. Trotter had a fantastic authoritative presence with his stature, vocal delivery, and presence.  He made you want to give him the information he demanded – even if you didn’t know it yourself!  He was commanding, clear and concise and drove the narrative perfectly.

The first half of the show flew by and we were surprised to find ourselves stumbling into the interval, for it really does draw you in.  There is a twee nostalgia to the play, for it has kept its roots in its time frame.  The Mousetrap is positively aware of this and allows us to giggle at some things that seem absurd in todays world.  In that sense, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and enjoys the flexibility the different array of characters brings.  Speaking of which, this is the riding force of the show for me.  The cast have excelled in producing such varying and unique characters, each with their own life force.  The first half of the second act drives along in a similar vein, keeping us hooked into the plot as we try to figure it all out.  The remainder of the show in comparison felt a little jarred, like it was in a rush to finish, or it had run out of time.  I can’t really say too much without risking slipping up and giving secrets away, but I kind of wanted more.  Maybe that’s a good thing – always leave them wanting more right?  That aside, this is no doubt the mothership of all whodunnits and I could absolutely see how many other shows have tried to replicate its formula.  I am thrilled to have finally seen this trend setting show and promise to uphold its secrets.  Here’s to the next 70 years.  Happy Anniversary to The Mousetrap.


Our review on The Mousetrap

The Mousetrap - Opera House, Manchester - Monday 28th November 2022 by Abigail Holden

Our Rating

Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap
has come to Manchester for its 70th anniversary tour! Being a lover of stories with twists and turns, especially whodunnit-style stories where it is the person you least expect, of course I knew of The Mousetrap. I have always heard the tale of how it has run so long because no one ever tells who the murderer is. And now I know who it is, I am not telling a soul. It is beautiful, clever, scary, funny and utterly delightful. I loved every second of it. The whodunnit, classic Agatha Christie story certainly did not disappoint.

As soon as the lights went down in the theatre, a sudden silence fell over the audience, like I have never seen before, and I knew I was in for a ride. The story was played out in one room of the house - which was the setting for the whole play - and it worked perfectly. If someone left the confinements of that room, you immediately thought they were up to something nefarious. It adds to the mystery and the ambience of the people who are left on the stage. It gets you thinking that everyone is a murderer. I loved it.

It begins with the wireless playing, telling of a murder and instinctively you know that he newly opened Monkswood Manor guest house has something to do with it. Mr Giles Ralston, an honest man, played by Laurence Pears (The Play That Goes Wrong, Peter Pan Goes Wrong) and Mrs Mollie Ralston, who inherited the house, played by Joelle Dyson (Murder on the Orient Express, 2:22 A Ghost Story) are the owners of the house, with their guests due to arrive. Both Laurence Pears and Joelle Dyson led the beginning of the show well, perfectly drawing you into the story, whilst their array of guests struggle to get to the house, due to a raging snow storm.

The first guest to arrive, Christopher Wren, played by Elliot Clay (The Mousetrap, and writer and composer of brand-new musical Millennials) comes in from the storm with a smile and a clear obsession with the beauty of the house. He is very enthusiastic and a breath of fresh air. Next to arrive are Mrs Boyle, a widow who is very set in her ways, played to perfection by Gwyneth Strong (Only Fools and Horses, The Mousetrap), and Major Metcalf, an elder gent who served in the war, played by Nicholas Maude (Around the World in 80 Days, The Sound of Music). They arrive cold and covered in snow after their taxi cannot make it up the driveway to the house, much to Mrs Boyle’s horror. Nicholas Maude’s Major was witty, all whilst being everything you’d expect a Major to be - particular and helpful.

Another arrival brings the young Miss Caswell, played by Essie Barrow (The Mousetrap, Twelfth Night), who dresses in a rather masculine way and seems particularly sarcastic - something which Essie Barrow pulled off seamlessly. The final lodger of the house is the unexpected Mr Paravicini, played by John Altman (Eastenders, Chicago), a mysterious guest, with a funny accent, who has been caught up in the snow and needs a place to stay. The character of Detective Sgt. Trotter, played by understudy Jack Elliot (Julius Caesar, The Kingsman), whose performance really drew the story together, turns up in a flurry of snow, after skiing to the house because of the bad weather. He arrives in order to investigate the murder that was heard to be spoken about on the wireless, at the start. Once everyone is in the house, chaos ensues…

You can really tell why the play has been running for 70 years. Like Christie’s other works, it has lived on due to the genius writing. However, there is no story without the actors to make said story come to life, when it comes to the stage. My personal favourite character was Christopher Wren (Elliot Clay) who, with his seemingly endless energy, his lounging across the sofa and non-stop talking reminded me very much of my younger brother. He was funny, charming and simply fantastic.

If you want to find out who did it, well… I am sworn to secrecy. I guess you’ll just have to go and see it for yourself.




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