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REVIEW - The Mousetrap is beautiful, clever, scary, funny and utterly delightful


We went to the Manchester Opera House on Monday to see The Mousetrap. Read what our reviewer Abigail Holden had to say about this brilliant play...

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.




The Mousetrap can be seen at the Opera House, Manchester until Saturday 3rd December 2022






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