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The Mousetrap @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

Published by: Yvonne Delahaye on 5th Jul 2016 | View all blogs by Yvonne Delahaye

When The Mousetrap opened in the West End after a short tour on 25th November 1952, Agatha Christie reckoned that her play would run for eight months.  Producer, Peter Saunders, was slightly more optimistic predicting a run of 14 months.  How astounded would they be now to see that 64 years later the play is still running in the West End, with a tour around the UK?

On 13th September 1957, the play achieved ‘longest running straight play in the West End’, which prompted Noel Coward to send a spiky message to Agatha ‘Much as it pains me, I really must congratulate you!’ But that was just the beginning of its most extraordinary record breaking achievements. The 50th anniversary was on 25th November 2002 and the performance was attended by HM The Queen and Prince Philip.  In its 60th year on 18th November 2012, the play reached an astounding 25,000 performances!  It was in this year that the first UK tour set out, but the play continued to run at St Martin’s Theatre, which has been its home since transferring from The Ambassadors Theatre in 1974, without a break in the run.  It also toured the Far East in 2013.

The big star names in the original cast were Richard Attenborough playing Det Sgt Trotter and his wife, Sheila Sim, who played Mollie.  Over 400 actors have played in The Mousetrap in the last 64 years, so it has certainly given a lot of jobbing actors regular work opportunities.

This touring production has only one ‘name’ at the moment and that’s Louise Jameson, who plays Mrs Boyle.  Louise is best known for her roles in Doctor Who, Bergerac, EastEnders and Doc Martin.  The Mousetrap though is bigger than any ‘names’, so long as the actors are good, then people will still flock to see the play, rather than its stars.

The characters are two-dimensional and the lines a bit clunky and full of clichés, so it’s not that easy to make the part your own.  Gregory Cox, playing the flamboyant Mr Paravicini, though did manage to lift the energy from a quite lack-lustre Monday evening show.

Agatha Christie was perhaps as baffled as everyone else by the show’s enduring appeal, but offered the following analysis ‘it is the sort of play you can take anyone to.  It’s not really frightening.  It’s not really horrible.  It’s not really a farce, but it has a little bit of all these things and perhaps that satisfies a lot of different people.’

Check out tour dates on www.mousetrapontour.com and tick this one off your bucket list!

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
4.7.16

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