The Mousetrap theatre review: A bit rushed but comfortingly nostalgic | Theatre | Entertainment


It has passed into the realm of great British institutions, as much a highlight of the tourist trail as the Tower Of London or Madame Tussauds.

As such it is virtually critic-proof and Christie is the most successful female playwright of all time.

At her height in the early 1950s, she had three plays in the West End simultaneously: Spider’s Web, Witness For The Prosecution and The Mousetrap.

The fact that a new production of Witness For The Prosecution is running in London’s County Hall suggests her appeal has not faded. 

This week I attended The Mousetrap’s 27,166th performance.

The plot is a classic old dark house mystery with a handful of strangers trapped in a snowbound manor house, one of whom is a psychotic murderer.

The interaction of the characters is far more intriguing than the plot.

Mollie and Giles Ralston (Ellie Burrow and Ed Pinker) have recently opened a guest house but pressure is mounting and their one-year-old marriage is beginning to unravel.

Shortly after they welcome their first four guests, a snowstorm renders everyone housebound.

Then young Detective Sergeant Trotter (George Evans) arrives, suspecting one of the guests of a recent murder.

By the end of the first act another murder has been committed in the house.

As Trotter attempts to identify the killer and prevent a third death, suspicion falls on each guest in turn. 

Christie’s subtext, that we can never really know the truth about other people, leaves a psychological residue that lingers like a ghost.

The wonderfully evocative set is all faded grandeur and gentility, slightly worn chintz and stained glass windows through which we see snow falling.

If the denouement is a bit rushed, it is preceded by a comforting nostalgia.

I was 13 when I first saw The Mousetrap so I already knew whodunnit.

It did not spoil my enjoyment one jot. 

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