Amy Child & Ana Balanici
Agatha Christie’s murder mystery The Mousetrap is the world’s longest-running play, and the tour now celebrates 70 years from its original release. Between 27th September to 1st October, the esteemed performance has come to Nottingham’s Theatre Royal. Impact’s Amy Child and Ana Balanici attended opening night to review.
The play begins with the announcement of a murder over the radio, with the suspect stated to be wearing a dark coat, light scarf and soft felt hat. Naturally, when each of the characters enter, they are dressed in this exact apparel, establishing each of them as the potential killer.
The play achieves an exciting blend of comedy and mystery, lending a light, fun tone to something that could otherwise have become too realistic and heavy.
The Mousetrap was distinctively Agatha Christie: a locked room murder mystery set at a snowed-in guest house, where one of the guests must be the murderer. Though it has a relatively small cast for a murder mystery, each character had a distinctive and intriguing personality. Throughout the play, the audience has cause to question each of them and none entirely avoid suspicion. Each hint at something more than what they show on the surface. The audience was actively engaged in trying to guess the murderer and kept on the edge of their seats by the impending sense of danger, constant conflicts and hints at characters’ possible involvement.
Whilst the entire cast was great, the star of the show was undoubtedly Christopher Wren (played by Elliot Coombe). He contributed buckets of comedy and charisma, and his infectious energy stole the scenes. Sergeant Trotter (played by Thomas Wingfield) also deserves a special mention for his marvellous performance towards the end.
Overall, the play achieves an exciting blend of comedy and mystery, lending a light, fun tone to something that could otherwise have become too realistic and heavy. Before the critical reveal of the culprit, the emotional heat of the story rose, leaving the audience restless, not knowing what to expect next. The big reveal was astonishing and satisfying, however there were a couple of secondary reveals which we felt created plot holes. Fortunately, we only noticed these afterwards. They certainly didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the performance as it was unfolding.
The plot itself is perhaps a little slow on the uptake. A lot of time is devoted to introducing characters which might have otherwise contributed more intrigue to the mystery. Similarly, we felt the ending was a little rushed and finished too neatly in a few minutes of comedic relief. Whilst this was somewhat nice, it did feel like something was missing.
Putting these minor criticisms aside, The Mousetrap was an enjoyable and engaging play with that classic Christie flair. It’s a great way to spend an evening, and if you fancy yourself a budding detective, see if you can guess the murderer.
Amy Child & Ana Balanici
Featured image courtesy of Alex Watkin. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
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