The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie directed by Gary Young
St James Theatre, till November 24
Reviewed by Ewen Coleman
Having played on London's West End continuously since 1952, with rarely any productions of the play anywhere else, Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap is now on tour as a celebration of its 60 years.
Christie was a famous writer of the "whodunit" genre and her play fits into the mould. A group of disparate and eccentric individuals are holed up in a remote hotel during a snow blizzard with a killer on the loose.
Although the famous ending - not to be revealed outside the theatre - has a certain fascination and the revelations are amusing, as thrillers go the play is not overly gripping. So why is it a play of this type is still going strong? Partly this is due to its own momentum - audiences go to find out what it is that has made it live so long - and partly the wonderful array of characters.
And this Australian production with its all-Australian cast under the direction of Gary Young has pulled out all the stops to create an exceptional piece of period theatre. On an elaborate set designed by Linda Bewick that is the epitome of an English manor house, and with Suzy Strout's wonderfully in-period costume and hair designs, the actors have a ball. The ever-so-twee young English couple, Giles and Mollie Ralston, running the hotel are perfectly played by Gus Murray and Christy Sullivan.
Into their establishment arrive the hyperactive young Christopher Wren (Travis Cotton), the curmudgeonly Mrs Boyle (Linda Cropper), the rather staid Major Metcalfe (Nicholas Hope), the mannish Miss Casewell (Jacinta John), the fanatical foreigner Mr Paravicini (Robert Alexander) and the investigating officer Detective-Sergeant Trotter (Justin Smith).
They bring out loads of humour to make this a most delightful evening's entertainment of the world's most enduring play.
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