Written By Agatha
Directed by Robyn
Produced by John
Frost for Crossroads Live Australia
Canberra Theatre to
Reviewed by Len Power
12 May 2023
Mention ‘The Mousetrap’ and it’s a play that everyone in the world knows about. Its extraordinary success in London, where it has been playing continuously since 1952, has turned it into a must-see tourist attraction to rival Buckingham Palace and the Tower Of London.
Written by Agatha Christie, arguably the greatest author of murder novels in the world, its ingenious plot continues to surprise and entertain people to this day. Now, with this 70th anniversary touring production, Australian audiences can see it without making the long trek to London.
Directed by Robyn Nevin, the production is set in the remote Monkswell Manor, now a guest house, in the snowy British winter of 1952. As the play opens, the owners nervously await their first guests as the radio mentions that a murder has taken place in London. The guests are a colourful assortment of characters and before long, a police sergeant arrives on skis to tell them that the London killer may be amongst them.
The cast of 'The Mousetrap'
The performers are all thoroughly believable playing this assortment of owners and guests. The roles may be certain types but they are not caricatured. It’s their histories, attitudes and mannerisms that are important to be well-played. They deftly engage the detective in all of us as we try to spot a clue that might reveal who the murderer is.
Anna O’Byrne is delightful as Mollie Ralston, the nervous owner of the guesthouse. Her accurate performance reminds us of those terribly English women in early 1950s British movies and she is a great screamer, too.
Amongst the rest of the highly capable cast, Laurence Boxhall as Christopher Wren, is terrific as a very peculiar young man and Gerry Connolly scores as the “foreigner”, Mr. Paravicini. Tom Conroy is an eager and energetic Police Sergeant Trotter and the usually glamorous Geraldine Turner expertly plays the formidable old bat, Mrs Boyle.
This is a clever and enjoyable play performed to the highest
standard. Will you guess who the murderer is? I bet you won’t.
Photos by Brian Geach
This review was first
published by Canberra CityNews digital edition on 13 May 2023.
Len Power's reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 in the ‘Arts Cafe’ and ‘Arts About’ programs and published in his blog 'Just Power Writing' at https://justpowerwriting.blogspot.com/.