November 19, 2012

The Mousetrap

Agatha Christie isn't known as the Queen of Crime for nothing. She is the most translated author, holds the record for the best selling mystery for And Then There were None and has the honour of being the playwright of the longest running play The Mousetrap. In its sixtieth year for the diamond jubilee (sound familiar? Who else had one of those this year?) the play is touring the world and it has come all the way down to New Zealand.

Christy Sullivan as Mollie Ralston
Courtesy of JPPR
The Mousetrap is a typical Christie offering; one location, a range of people from different backgrounds, secrets, disguises, murder and plot twists while on the surface it is lovely polite English life. The intricacies of her plots and characters are such that I find I can return to them sometime later as feel as though I was reading it afresh. I don’t want to ruin any of the mystery by revealing too much; in fact following tradition at the end of the performance the cast asked the audience to not divulge the ending.

The set was exquisite and genuine; it felt like there was real depth, rooms behind the one we could see. So detailed; down to the snow that swirls outside the window to the smoke stained paint at the top of the wood panelled walls. I imagine the set travels with the actors. The costumes added to the period while managing to not feel as though the costumers had been trying to hard. Overall the authenticity makes you feel as though you were in England, peeking through into the guesthouse living room. The St James Theatre is the perfect location for this piece of theatrical history.

The acting was compelling, or was it the storyline? The words were so well bought to life that it was all part of the same. All characters have their little quirks; my favourite was Christopher Wren whose bounces around the stage reminded me of a certain British comedian. My one complaint is that one of the actresses accents sounded forced but I soon forgot to notice as I was so caught up in the action.

If you like theatre, mystery, crime, drama, vintage… you will love this production. For this short time you have a chance to take part in a piece of history, seeing the worlds longest running play right here. It’s quite something to see it at home, in Wellington, but I still plan to watch one day in London.

Tickets: $65-110
Dates: 15-24 November
Venue: St James Theatre

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