REVIEW: Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap | Edinburgh Playhouse
"A murder? Oh, I like murder!"
The most famous ‘Whodunnit’ in theatre history has come to town. Celebrating 70 years and holding the record for the longest-running play, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap treads the boards of the Edinburgh Playhouse for one week only.
Hailing as a genre-defining murder mystery, the story is simple. There’s been a murder!
No this isn’t Taggart.
A murder has taken place in London, some 30 odd miles from where the play is set - a guest house in rural middle England called Monkswell Manor - and the police have reason to believe the murderer will strike again.
Set on a snowy night, we are introduced to Giles and Mollie Ralston at their guesthouse, Monkswell Manor, whilst they prepare to welcome their guests. As the radio broadcasts news of a murder in London, expected and unexpected guests walk through the door.
The scene is now set for the classic whodunnit, but not before Detective Sergeant Trotter arrives to warn everyone that the murder in London has a local connection and that they are in grave danger – “No Poop Poirot” – and that the killer is one of them.
This is where I will stop detailing the plot #NoSpoilers
The whole play takes place on a single set – the lounge of the Monkswell Manor with its towering oak walls, floral furniture, and roaring fire. Adding to the ambience is the flickering lights and the rattling windows revealing the blizzard outside. The stationary set is masterfully designed with many doors creating the feeling of suspense as though the manor is a maze and that a game is being played.
With only a cast of eight, each actor is fantastic and work together effortlessly to keep the performance feeling fresh despite its long-running achievement. Joelle Dyson and Laurence Pears deliver as Mollie and Giles Ralston. Joseph Reed gives a great performance as Detective Sergeant Trotter, as do all the guests of Monkswell Manor – Todd Carty as Major Metcalf, Gwyneth Strong as Mrs Boyle, Essie Barrow as Miss Casewell, and Kieran Brown as Mr Paravicini.
The standout performance was the display of childish antics, witty retorts, and merriment from Elliot Clay as the young architect guest, Christopher Wren. He demonstrated superb comic timing and had the whole auditorium giggling in their seats.
Without giving away the ending, the clever story in which everyone is a suspect really does keep you guessing until the closing moments of the play. With murder, mystery and intrigue, The Mousetrap is a slice of British history that remains as entertaining today as it was seven decades ago.
For those of you that like tradition, audiences are asked not to reveal the identity of the killer and to keep the secret going, to ensure the ending is not spoilt for future audiences and the mystery maintained. My lips are sealed!
Can you solve Dame Agatha Christie’s world mystery for yourself?
Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap is at the Edinburgh Playhouse until Saturday 29th April 2023.
FUN FACT: The play was initially called Three Blind Mice and was a radio play written for the BBC to commemorate the 80th birthday of Queen Mary in 1947.
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