Celebrating sixty continuous years as a West End theatre production - as part of its now Diamond Anniversary tour - The Mousetrap has come to York’s Grand Opera House: whisking its audience back to classic 1950s theatre - anticipation is high and this production doesn’t disappoint.
The curtain opens to a breathtaking set; ornate wood panneling, a magnificent fireplace, intricate stone arches and an enormous ornate window with snow falling outside. This is Monkswell Manor, a newly opened guest house owned by Mollie and Giles Ralston (Anna Andersen and Nick Barclay). Soon their guests begin to arrive through the blizzard; Christopher Wren (Oliver Gully) is first, a flamboyant young man pertaining to be an architecture student, he can’t possibly be serious… next comes Major Metcalf (Tony Boncza) a retired army officer who doesn’t appear to be as he seems… Mrs Boyle (Louise Jameson) a rude old battleaxe who has all the best lines but also a dark secret… The final expected guest is the enigmatic Miss Casewell (Amy Downham). All of a sudden there comes an unexpected knock at the door, Mr Paravicini (Gregory Cox), a mysterious foreigner whose car is stuck in a snow drift is hesitantly welcomed into the group along with his cryptic comments and his noticable wearing of make up! All of a sudden the audience is bearing witness to the unfolding of a puzzling game of Cluedo!
A cat amongst the pigeons is the sudden arrival on skis of DS Trotter (Lewis Collier). He is investigating a murder that happened in London by a medium sized man wearing a dark coloured coat, light scarf and a felt hat. Of course as each member of the cast arrived on stage they all fit this description much to the audiences delight! The tune of Three Blind Mice was also heard being whistled by the murderer. DS Trotter has reason to believe that someone at the house is implicated in the murder and potentially more targets could be there too. Act 1 ends with a violent death…….. It was fascinating to hear snippets of interval conversations as to who the murderer could possibly be!
The play is packed with whodunit clichés, Agatha Christie after all did invent most of them! We have the secluded old country house, an impenetrable storm isolating the action, the dead telephone ( was it snow breaking the wires or had they been cut?), the strange foreigner and the haunting nursery rhyme motif….all with a smattering of red herrings. Clichés are clichés because they work!
The Mousetrap is full of mysteries, the main one is how it can still be running after all these years! Also the ending - a secret the audience has been sworn to is still relatively unknown and makes the viewing to a new audience so much more fun.
A crowd pleaser of epic proportions that is sure to keep on running. Showing at Grand Opera House York until Sat 27 Feb.