★★★☆☆ | The Mousetrap, National Tour
After a murder in London, and with the snow falling heavily outside, Monkswell Manor, a guest house, opens its doors to welcome its first five seemingly unconnected, guests, some of whom are expected, some of whom aren’t. But the night is interrupted by a phone call and the arrival of the police warning that there is a killer on the loose and that there more murders expected in the isolated house. But who is the murderer, who are the victims and who will survive?
The Mousetrap is the longest running show in the West End and when I first saw it in 2013, having not read or seen any Agatha Christie and with a curiosity to see what made this theatrical legend so special, I found it suitably engaging, and seeing it again on this new tour was just as enjoyable.
As one would expect with Agatha Christie, the story is one of a mixed bunch of characters; including the grumpy old woman, the retired army general and the delightfully camp young bachelor; and the intelligent writing had you casting doubt on each of the characters in turn, as their secrets slowly surface. But the fun comes in the last twenty minutes or so, as the killer’s identity is revealed and you can see whether you were right in your deductions.
On this tour, there are high spec production values, with a sturdy and detailed set and an ambient sound and lighting design; and there are good central performances from Geoff Arnold as Sergeant Trotter, Gwyneth Strong as Mrs Boyle; and in particular, Lewis Chandler standing out from the crowd as Christopher Wren.
Despite the show being somewhat of its time and harbouring a terribly twee closing scene, The Mousetrap retains its ability to engage the audience without flashy visuals or an over the top production, and simply allows some good performances and classic story writing to shine through in a night of old fashioned entertainment.
The Mousetrap is on national tour and details can be found at the show’s website.