The longest running play in the world
As a huge fan of Poirot and his little grey cells, I jumped at the chance to review one of Agatha Christie’s best loved works live on stage at Cheltenham’s Everyman Theatre.
Although Miss Marple and my favourite Belgian detective don’t appear in The Mousetrap, this stunning whodunnit is just as gripping and immersive, with a captivating twist in the tale that, in true Mrs Christie style, leaves audiences guessing until the very last minute.
The show is the longest running play in the world, which began its run in at The Theatre Royal Nottingham in October 1952, before moving to London’s West End later that year, where it remains to this day.
Three blind mice
The audience is thrown full-speed into Agatha Christie’s world of murder and mystery, as the sound of The Mousetrap’s first death rings out through the auditorium in its opening few moments.
We then join young couple, Millie and Giles Ralston as they prepare to open their new guesthouse, Monkswell Manor, with the impending arrival of their unusual rabble of guests.
Fabulously twee and of-the-time, the play combines comic moments from the wonderfully camp Christopher Wren, with terrifying suspicion as we meet the unexpected guest, Mr Paravicini.
The big name of the Cheltenham performance is Gwyneth Strong in the role of Mrs Boyle. Best known for her role as Cassandra in Only Fools and Horses, it was a delight to see the star effortlessly perform the role of the cantankerous retired magistrate.
The twist in the mouse’s tail
As with all good Agatha Christie whodunnits, the killer is not revealed until the very final scene, and The Mousetrap does so with a twist worthy of an M Night Shyamalan movie!
While we can’t go into too much detail to keep this review spoiler free, we can guarantee you’ll be casting suspicion over every member of the cast before the performance is through.
Once the murderer has been revealed, and the audience is let in on the fantastically unexpected twist, they’re asked to keep the secret, so that the mystery of The Mousetrap can live on for generations to come.
Being part of the club that knows whodunnit is sure to spark excited chat amongst Christie fans, and is perhaps the reason that this beautifully crafted play has proven such a success since its opening in 1952.
The Mousetrap runs in Cheltenham until Saturday 23 March 2019.
By Melissa Hamblett