Retrieved November 26 from http://www.viewmag.com/13967-The+Mousetrap.htm
|by Katie Penrose
November 24 – 30, 2011
Each and every one of us has an inner–detective immediately ready to spring into action given the opportunity – which could explain why The Mousetrap is the longest–running play of our time. ‘Murder mystery’ may be the one and only genre that appeals to us all. A perfectly–crafted whodunit, The Mousetrap has been performed almost 25,000 times (and counting) at St. Martin’s theatre in London’s West End. The show opened in 1952 and has run continuously ever since. Now that I’ve seen the show, and I’m in on the secret – I know why.
Famously, the audience is addressed after the final applause and is asked to keep the ending secret. Without that touch, it is almost inevitable that the show would have been spoiled early on. I find it admirable that media and theatre-goers throughout the show’s history have so respected that request; it reveals the sanctity of the actor/audience relationship, and speaks to everyone’s true love of theatre.
Director Andrew Finnigan deserves first accolades for so masterfully designing the mysterious energy held among the stage. The cast moved confidently through the action, which was constant, and maintained a tight connection to one another’s presence. The dynamic tension carried through the unfolding of the story without hiccup. Finnigan created superb tableau–like moments where all the characters faced the audience, each a suspect. Of course the success of the overall aesthetic was made possible by excellent portrayals from each actor. One weak link would have meant death.
Elaine Hale and Andy Dumas play one–year–married Mollie and Giles Ralston, the owner/operators of Monkswell Manor, a guest–house where the other characters have come to stay. Dumas is commanding as the master of the house, having perfected a ‘suspecting yet suspicious’ persona – an excellent performance. Hale is equally strong, and provides us with a softer edge to the group which is much appreciated.
Julian Ford, who played Sergeant Trotter, was a standout among strong performances. He used his body very well, searching the premises in his attempt to find clues and solve the creepily–planned murders. He stops at times, and harnesses the characters in a moment of his suspicion – and he does so with perfect timing and non–chalance. In other moments he is frustrated and attempts to persuade the suspects to give him information – and he does so with a slight hint of comedy just right for the scene. Brilliant!
Andrew Finnigan, who directs and in addition plays guest Christopher Wren, is delightful on stage. His colourful and sometimes wacky portrayal gets plenty of laughs, and provides much needed comic relief. Helping in this department is George Sanford as Mr. Paravicini, the funniest of the characters. Sanford has a great time with this part, and does wonders to add to the question marks bubbling about.”
Sandy Milne is very straightforward, sharp and solid as Miss Casewell – another great performance. Ralph Woodcock plays Major Metcalf, and Dianne McEwan plays crusty old magistrate Mrs. Boyle. Both are very good with their roles, and like all the other players they contribute substantially to the overall dynamic.
It has been a long time since I have so enjoyed a night out at the theatre. If you’ve never seen The Mousetrap, you should absolutely go! If you’ve never been out to a local play before, you should absolutely go! The set is so wonderfully lovely, and the characters are working together so well – every itch gets scratched. Pure enjoyment. V