By Rob Holcroft Friday 23 November 2012 Updated: 23/11 15:53
AFTER a record-breaking run in the West End, The Mousetrap is celebrating its monumental 60 years on stage by undertaking it’s first ever tour of the UK.
Penned by the mistress of murder mystery, Agatha Christie, the show is playing to packed theatres all over the country.
An opening night sell out is a phenomenon usually reserved for Andrew Lloyd Webber shows and Blood Brothers but the full house at Malvern Festival Theatre is a reflection of the popularity and intrigue of this timeless classic.
Ian Watt-Smith perfectly directs a brilliant cast of eight characters who, due to extreme winter weather, find themselves cut off in the isolated Monkswell Manor, while reports of the murder of a woman in London circulate the country. The hunt for her killer leads to the country house and the discovery that the killing spree may not be over, but whodunit?
Bruno Langley and Jemma Walker charmingly play the inheritors of the manor, who naively decide to open it as a guesthouse. Steven France is superb as their first arrival, in the guise of Christopher Wren, whose childish enthusiasm quickly irritates most in his company, particularly the pernickety Mrs Boyle, superbly characterised by Jan Waters.
Graham Seed is wonderfully aloof as Major Metcalf and Clare Wilkie is excellent as the strikingly self-assured Miss Casewell. Karl Howman and Thomas Howes revel in their respective roles of Mr Paravicini and Detective Sergeant Trotter, the unexpected guests that make up the fated eight.
A beautifully functional set, delightful period costume, atmospheric lighting and sound complete the sparkle on this diamond anniversary production.
What makes this different to the other Agatha Christie plays is the quality of script, story and characters. The first act moves the story along at a pace, leaving a trail of clues that tempt us to unravel the mystery of each individual as we play detective to uncover the deadly scheme and unmask the murderer before all is revealed on stage.
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