mouse cast

The Mousetrap

Belgrade Theatre Coventry


It’s an impressive feat to be touring a play, known worldwide, in its 70th year, visiting all the theatres it played to in its first tour. And though I have seen The Mousetrap before, it still seemed fresh and relevant – though I promised faithfully I wouldn’t say why.

I was sad to see that two of the best-known actors were indisposed. Gwyneth Strong and Todd Carty were replaced very nicely by Judith Rae and Nicholas Maude as Mrs Boyle and Major Metcalf.

The story is pure Agatha Christie, though there is no Hercule Poirot or Jane Marple. It’s a murder mystery where five strangers are marooned in an old mansion, Monkswell Hall Guest House, belonging to newly married Mollie and Giles Ralston (Joelle Dyson and Laurance Pears) in a snow storm that prevents anyone getting in or out… seemingly.

However, five strangers, arrive in a very particular order. First, Christopher Wren, highly strung architect (Elliot Clay), then, together, picky Mrs Boyle (Judith Rae) and solid Major Metcalf (Nicholas Maude), then Miss Kathy Casewell (Essie Barrow), then the mysterious uninvited guest from presumably Italy Mr Paravincini (Kieran Brown).

Finally, after hearing on the radio about a murder in London that has links to Monkswell Hall, a policeman, Sergeant Trotter (Joseph Reed).

Gradually, very gradually, the story emerges that a neighbouring property, Longridge Farm, was involved in a child cruelty case 20 years before and a killer is seeking revenge. One of the guests is the killer and one the next victim. True to form, the lights fail, the telephone is cut off and Mrs Boyle is dead; the magistrate in the case who sent the children to the house of hell.

I suspect I wasn’t the only one of the packed house to have seen The Mousetrap before. Yet, it was very different this time. I think because the energy particularly from Sgt Trotter and Christopher Wren retrieved the play from what could be quite static into an engaging and entertaining experience. Agatha Christie, herself, was amazed at its longevity but explained that it had something for everybody; fair enough. Who knows how much longer it will last but maybe take the chance and you can and see for yourself what the fuss is all about. To 18-02-23.

Jane Howard


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