04
Jan
13

The Mousetrap

The_Mousetrap_13_event

 

The Mousetrap

Michael Coppel, Louise Withers, Linda Bewick

In Association with Adrian Barnes 

QPAC Playhouse

28th December – 20th January 2013

 

Reviewed by John McMahon

 

Christie’s classic “whodunit” opened on London’s West End in November 1952 and has since played over 24,000 performances. The Mousetrap is the longest running show of any kind in the world and after 60 years, continues to delight audiences to this day at London’s St. Martin’s Theatre. Originally written by Agatha Christie as a radio play titled Three Blind Mice and broadcast in 1947, Christie then adapted the radio play for a short story of the same name before again rewriting for the stage as The Mousetrap.

During this phenomenal run there have been no fewer than 382 actors and actresses appearing in the play, 116 miles of shirts have been ironed and over 415 tons of ice cream sold.

Some cast members of The Mousetrap have even been listed in the Guinness Book of Records including David Raven as the ‘Most Durable Actor’ for 4,575 performances as Major Metcalf, and the late Nancy Seabrooke for a record breaking 15 years as an understudy.

The Mousetrap first entered the record books many years ago on 12th April 1958 when it became the longest running show of any kind in the history of British Theatre.

In 2000 the set was replaced for the first time during the run at St Martin’s Theatre, still to the same design as the original. This task was completed over a weekend without the loss of a performance.

 

Brisbane is the last Australian stop for Agatha Christie’s long running mystery play The Mousetrap, which is doing a world tour as part of its Diamond Anniversary celebrations.

 

The lights went down and we heard the boy soprano voice of Beau Woodbridge singing Three Blind Mice and the magic began. The setting was quite magnificent. The Great Hall at Monkswell Manor was beautifully created using the full expanse of the Playhouse Theatre stage. There were believable entrances and exits on different levels, such as a room like this would have, together with a large window with beautiful brocade curtains. These could be opened or closed easily numerous times during the show.

 

The show opened with Molly Ralston (Christy Sullivan) and her husband Giles (Gus Murray) getting Monkswell Manor ready to receive its first paying guests during a very bad snowstorm. The guests included Christopher Wren (Travis Cotton) who burst into the establishment, wasn’t still for a moment and soon had the audience laughing at his antics. Mrs Boyle (Genevieve Lemon) became the cast member everyone loves to hate and gave a splendid performance as a guest who found fault with everything. Major Metcalfe (Nicholas Hope) was simply great as the brooding older guest willing to help with the chores. He did not have a lot to say but you were always aware of his presence on the stage. Miss Casewell (Jacinta John) was another rather mysterious guest. Mr Paravicini (Robert  Alexander ) was an unexpected guest who had overturned his car outside, and his presence on stage brought a lot of humour to the play.

 

Detective-Sergeant Trotter (Justin Smith) appeared at the window, and the cast was complete. The cast worked well off one another, with the standout for me being Genevieve Lemon (Mrs Boyle). Costuming and characterisation were excellent.

The play rolled on from red herring to red herring and the audience loved it. Director, Gary Young, made great use of the large expanse of the stage and created some great pictures. It was all played very 1952 Great Britain and I thought a couple of the actors overdid the “terribly, terribly British accent.”I also had a problem with the window. Given that it was an integral part of the set and there was a really bad snowstorm outside, I would have expected that when it was opened a blast of snow/wind etc would come through.

 

Those audience members associated with amateur theatre performances of the play in 2011, would have been very jealous of this production on the big stage with its wonderful set (and snow machine).

 

At the curtain call, we were asked not to reveal the murderer. The audience, the majority of whom were not born when the play first opened in London, went home more than happy, having experienced some theatrical history in Brisbane.

 

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