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The Mousetrap

Published by: Steve Burbridge on 11th Jun 2013 | View all blogs by Steve Burbridge

 

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The Mousetrap – Darlington Civic Theatre

The Queen of Crime’s most famous masterpiece has arrived in Darlington in a blaze of glory, ahead of playing to packed houses for the entire duration of its six-day run.

The Mousetrap is famous around the world for being the longest running show of any kind in the history of British theatre – with almost 25,000 performances, spanning 60 record-breaking years, and for the first time ever it is now on tour.

A stellar cast, comprising a number of former soap stars, relish the opportunity to be part of what is, quite indisputably, a national treasure. True to form, Agatha Christie assembles her characters in an isolated country manor and then (in this particular case, by means of inclement weather conditions) cuts them off from the outside world. And so the foul play begins ...

To outline the plot would be to risk revealing the best kept secret in theatre and it would be churlish to do so. Suffice to say that, as you would expect, there is intrigue, suspense, twists, turns and red herrings galore. Each and every character is reluctant to reveal much about themselves, which makes Sgt Trotter’s (Bob Saul) task an unenviable one. Having arrived at Monkswell Manor direct from investigating the murder of Maureen Lyons in London, he warns that any of the residents of the newly-opened guest house could be the next victim – and any one of them could, indeed, be the murderer!

The first act does a fine job of introducing the characters to the audience: the proprietors of Monkswell Manor, Mollie Ralston (Jemma Walker) and her husband, Giles (Bruno Langley); the eccentric, oddly-named Christopher Wren (Steven France), the acerbic ex-magistrate Mrs Boyle (Elizabeth Power); the strangely aloof Miss Casewell (Clare Wilkie); the retired Major Metcalf (Graham Seed) and the mysterious foreigner Mr Paravicini (Karl Howman), whilst also making good use of some light humour. It culminates in the brutal murder of one of the household.

The second act concentrates on the investigation of the murder and the prevention of a third (it has been deduced by now that the killer is using a famous childhood nursery rhyme as inspiration). The suspense builds nicely and the intricacy of the plot is testament to Christie’s cleverness.

Despite the fact that The Mousetrap is not widely regarded as Christie’s best piece of writing, it is a well-constructed whodunit that has stood the test of time. This particular production is well-directed and has some solid performances from a strong cast. Mention must be made of the set, too, which is spectacular and beautifully detailed – snow can be seen falling outside the windows! 

Indeed, it is a thrill and a joy to be able to enjoy such an iconic piece as The Mousetrap in the splendour of the beautiful Civic Theatre in Darlington and the two combine to make it an evening never to be forgotten.

Steve Burbridge.

Runs at Darlington until Saturday 15th June, 2013, then continues to tour until mid-2014.

To book tickets telephone 01325 486 555 or visit www.darlingtoncivic.co.uk

 

Comments

1 Comment

  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 4 years ago
    Thanks, Steve. Great to see that The Moustrap is still 'capturing' audience hearts!
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