Reviewed by Louise Watts
The Mousetrap has to be the most iconic theatre show of all time. It has been performed continuously since 1952 making it the longest running theatre show ever! This has to mean something surely? With the world moving at a fast pace, what is it about this murder mystery, written by the incredible late Dame Agatha Christie, that continues to pull in the audiences after all these years and how has the murderer managed to stay a secret for so long?
Last evening, I took my parents and my husband to the opening night of The Mousetrap at The Hawth Theatre in Crawley. I had seen the show before back in 2016 however could not remember who the culprit was so was looking forward to seeing it again. My mother and father had never seen it but have always wanted to, so it was the perfect night out to end the Easter Bank Holiday weekend.
The theatre was buzzing as soon as we arrived, everyone was excited to see the show. Parking had been easy in the large, free onsite car park and the bars were open selling drinks and snacks. There were many staff in the foyer assisting people wherever they were needed. The call was made to go to our seats and we went into the auditorium and prepared for the show to start.
From the moment the music started, you could feel the sense of murder in the theatre. The show is based in a large country house that is now being used as a guest house. It is the opening night, there are many bookings and the weather is turning snowy. There has been a murder in London and over the wireless, police are appealing for witnesses to a man who was seen in the area. As the guests start to arrive for their stay, it becomes apparent that anybody could and does fit the description of this man! There are 5 guests in total plus the host and hostess, all of whom have secrets, oddities and incredible distinctive personalities.
My personal favourite has to be the rather camp, eccentric Christopher Wren played by Lewis Chandler. From the moment he entered the stage, it was hard not to love this incredibly childlike highly irritating but equally loveable young man. Lewis was absolutely incredible in the role and by the end of the show, we all loved Christopher.
As the weather gets more and more bleak, the characters find themselves stuck in the large country house with nowhere to go. Then the fun starts. A policeman by the name of Sgt Trotter arrives and tells them they are in danger of being murdered and that one of them is clearly a murderer and one the intended victim. But who is who and who can be trusted???
You will have to watch the show to find out. Once the victim is killed and identified, the show revolves around who is the murderer? Every single person has a motive and every single person looks suspicious but who was it? Well, that is the best kept secret in theatre history, and I am not about to tell you now!
All I can say, is that with this incredibly talented cast including Gwyneth Strong (best known by me as Cassandra in Only Fools and Horses) you are guaranteed an evening of pleasure. The show has been performed since 1952 and if you have not seen it yet, then you really must. But after, you have to promise to keep the secret of whodunnit so as not to ruin the fun and excitement for others.
The set was equally amazing. The large entrance hall of the country guest house was the setting for the whole show and with the snow falling outside the windows, the fire burning and no set changes, you got completely immersed in the surroundings. It was so realistic; you could almost hear the fire cracking and smell the burning of the logs.
What also struck me throughout the play was that despite the fact that it has been running for 66 years, at no point do you get any feeling that the show is dated. That is an achievement in itself!
We all had a fantastic time at The Hawth and seeing The Mousetrap must be placed on everybody’s bucket list. The show has been running so long and is so successful that you must have an extremely good reason for not going to see it!
Tickets cost from £31.50 to £40 (booking fees may apply).
The Mousetrap is at The Hawth in Crawley from 22-27 April 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit hawth.co.uk or call the box office on 01293 553636.
The Hawth, Hawth Avenue, Crawley, Sussex, RH10 6YZ | 01293 553636