‘Should you go & see it? I have a strong suspicion that you should’: THE MOUSETRAP – Touring ★★★

In Opinion, Plays, Regional theatre, Reviews, Scotland, Touring by Thom DibdinLeave a Comment

Touring – reviewed at Edinburgh Playhouse
Guest reviewer: Sarah Moyes

The world’s longest-running stage production returns to Edinburgh to thrill a whole new audience in this classic murder mystery tale at the Playhouse until Wednesday.

Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap first opened in Nottingham in 1952 before transferring to the West End stage where it has been entertaining audiences for the past 67 years.

The story is set just outside of London as a storm closes in one the newly opened guest house, Monkswell Manor. Before any of the guests start to arrive a radio news bulletin reports that police are on the hunt for a murder suspect who was seen wearing a dark jacket, hat and light coloured scarf.

One-by-one the guests begin to appear, all wearing a similar outfit to the suspect – linking them all the to crime from the minute the walk in the door.

Hotel owners Mollie (Harriet Hare) and Giles (Nick Biadon), a sweet and lovable young couple who are just about to celebrate their first wedding anniversary. First to arrive is Christopher Wren, a hyperactive character played by Lewis Chandler who breaks the tension of the story with his funny remarks and playful acting.

Gwyneth Strong of Only Fools and Horses fame is next to come in from the snow. She gives an excellent performance as the highly critical and rude Mrs Boyle, who is unliked by the most of the other hotel guests.

She’s closely followed by retired army Major Metcalf (John Griffiths), slightly strange and aloof Miss Casewell (Saskia Vaigncourt-Strallen), and Mr Paravacini (David Alock) who unexpectedly turns up claiming his car has been overturned in the snow.

What Agatha Christie does perfectly is arouse suspicion on all the characters. From the moment they all arrive, it’s clear that they have secrets as well as special quirks which makes it near impossible to rule any of them out as a potential suspect. And as Detective Sergeant Trotter (Geoff Arnold) turns up to question the guests on their involvement, even more doubt hangs over them.

The whole show plays out in a large room at the guest house. It’s authentically 1950s, with realistic wood panel walls and snow falling outside. Given that the Edinburgh Playhouse is the largest theatre in the UK with over 3000 seats, it’s not the small and intimate setting The Mousetrap is used to. While it doesn’t look out of place on the Playhouse stage, it might feel very distant for people who are seated at the back of the balcony as opposed to those sitting in the stalls.

slow burner

The show is definitely a slow burner – a little too slow at times – but it gathers pace in the second half as the twists and turns continue while you try to work out who the real murderer could be.

The cast of The Mousetrap 2019 UK tour. Pic Johann Persson

Given that the stage production has been running for so long, director Gareth Armstrong has done an excellent job of continuing this classic story for a whole new audience, right up to its famous request at the curtain, for the audience to keep the secret of whodunit in their hearts.

So did I guess the murderer? Well that would be telling. But should you go and see it? I have a strong suspicion that you should.

Running time – 2 hours 20 minutes (including interval)
Edinburgh Playhouse, 18 – 22 Greenside Place, EH1 3AA. Phone booking: 0844 871 3014.
Monday 27 – Wednesday 29 May 2019
Evenings: 7.30pm; Wed matinee: 2.30pm.
Tickets and details: Book now.

The Mousetrap on tour:

27 – 29 May 2019
Edinburgh
Playhouse
0844 871 3014
Book online

30 May – 1 June 2019
Liverpool
Empire
08448 713 017
Book online

3 – 8 June 2019
Southend on Sea
Palace Theatre
01702 351135
Book online

17 – 22 June 2019
Nottingham
Theatre Royal
0115 989 5555
Book online

24 – 26 June 2019
Bristol
Hippodrome
0844 871 3012
Book online

27 – 29 June 2019
Stoke-on-Trent
Regent Theatre
0844 871 7649
Book online

1 – 6 July 2019
Brighton
Theatre Royal
0844 871 7650
Book online

8 – 13 July 2019
Norwich
Theatre Royal
01603 63 00 00
Book online

15 – 20 July 2019
Malvern
Festival Theatre
01684 892277
Book online

22 – 27 July 2019
Blackpool
Grand Theatre
01253 290 190
Book online

29 July – 3 Aug 2019
Barnstaple
Queen’s Theatre
01271 324242
Book online

5 – 10 Aug 2019
Bournemouth
Pavilion Theatre
0844 576 3000
Book online

12 – 17 Aug 2019
Llandudno
Venue Cymru
01492 872000
Book online

19 – 24 Aug 2019
Milton Keynes
Milton Keynes Theatre
08448 717652
Book online

2 – 7 Sept 2019
Woking
New Victoria
0844 871 7645
Book online

9 – 14 Sept 2019
Torquay
Princess Theatre
0844 871 3023
Book online

16 – 21 Sept 2019
Dartford
Orchard Theatre
01322 220000
Book online

23 – 28 Sept 2019
Eastbourne
Devonshire Park Theatre
01323 412 000
Book online

1 – 5 Oct 2019
Cardiff
New Theatre
029 2087 8889
Book online

7 – 12 Oct 2019
Chesterfield
Pomegranate Theatre
01246 345 222
Book online

14 – 19 Oct 2019
Portsmouth
Kings Theatre
023 9282 8282
Book online

21 – 26 Oct 2019
Windsor
Theatre Royal
01753 853888
Book online

28 Oct – 2 Nov 2019
Glasgow
Theatre Royal
0844 871 7647
Book online

4 – 9 Nov 2019
Peterborough
New Theatre

Book online

11 – 16 Nov 2019
Birmingham
The Alexandra Theatre
0844 871 3011
Book online

The Mousetrap on tour in 2020:

10 – 15 Feb 2020
Swindon
Wyvern Theatre
01793 524 481
Book online

17 – 22 Feb 2020
Yeovil
Octagon Theatre
01935 422884
Book online

ENDS

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Thom Dibdin
Thom Dibdin has been reviewing and writing about theatre in Scotland since the last millennium. He is currently Scotland Correspondent for The Stage newspaper. In 2010, he founded AllEdinburghTheatre.com. The city's only dedicated theatre website, it covers all Edinburgh theatre year-round - and all theatre made in Edinburgh during EdFringe. Thom is passionate about quality in theatre criticism and is a member of the Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland. He tweets from @AllEdinTheatre and, personally, from @ThomDibdin.
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Thom Dibdin on FacebookThom Dibdin on RssThom Dibdin on Twitter
Thom Dibdin
Thom Dibdin has been reviewing and writing about theatre in Scotland since the last millennium. He is currently Scotland Correspondent for The Stage newspaper. In 2010, he founded AllEdinburghTheatre.com. The city's only dedicated theatre website, it covers all Edinburgh theatre year-round - and all theatre made in Edinburgh during EdFringe. Thom is passionate about quality in theatre criticism and is a member of the Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland. He tweets from @AllEdinTheatre and, personally, from @ThomDibdin.

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