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The Mousetrap

May 28, 2019 | By | Reply More

★★★☆☆    Thrilling

Playhouse: Mon 27 to Wed 29 May 2019
Review by 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.

Nick Biadon. Pic Johann Persson

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.

strange and aloof

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.

Gwyneth Strong. Pic Johann Persson

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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