Agatha Christie’s The mousetrap is now in its sixtieth year of continuous production. It opened in 1952 (1952!) and is quite possibly more famous for being famous now, rather than the quality of the work. As part of the celebrations of the show’s longevity, 60 professional productions have been licensed around the world. The Australian production is here in Wellington for a limited time.
The grand drawing-room set is framed by the soft reds and golds of the St James theatre. Into this space come Mollie and Giles Ralston (Christy Sullivan and Gus Murray). They are opening their country house to paying customers. There’s Christopher Wren (Travis Cotton) a ‘peculiar’ young man, Mrs Boyle (Linda Cropper) in a bad temper and nit-picky about everything, Major Metcalf (Nicholas Hope) very upright and military, and Miss Casewell (Jacinta John), a self-assured young woman. As the weather gets worse they are joined by Mr Paravicini (Robert Alexander) who has run his Rolls Royce into a snow drift. Finally Detective Sergeant Trotter (Justin Smith) arrives and the fun really begins. There has been a murder and the Sergeant has reason to believe some of the individuals in the house are in danger.
All the costumes are gorgeously tailored (paired with terrible shoes.) The set is delightful – partly because of the scale of it. Strangely the house was lit during the play. (This may have been spill from the stage lights, I’m not sure.) There are many red herrings and portentous utterances in this play. It felt almost like a pantomime in that it invited the audience to ‘ooo’ and *gasp* at the performances. At the end of the play we were asked to keep the secret of whodunnit. It’s a lovely conceit that connects us to all the audiences who have seen it before. As a fan of the Golden Age of detective fiction I enjoyed myself greatly.
- The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie, on at St James Theatre to 24 November 2012.