Reviewed by Rosemary Knight
Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap is famously the longest running stage show in Britain, having run continuously for over 66 years, so I was delighted to have the opportunity to attend The Lowry Theatre in Salford Quays, Manchester to see this production.
Gwyneth Strong stars, playing Mrs Boyle and is probably better known as Cassandra from Only Fools and Horses, but she plays the fierce, ex-magistrate wonderfully, demonstrating her skill as a fine actor.
The show is set in a 1950’s snowbound guest house and is a classic dark mystery with a selection of strangers, one of whom is a murderer. Giles and Mollie Ralston, superbly played by Nick Biadon and Harriett Hare, are the new owners of Monkswell Manor guest house and have opened their doors to their first intake of guests, who are a very unusual mix of eccentric, somewhat shady characters. The story develops as the characters are trapped in the guest house as the snowstorm becomes more intense, ensuring that no-one can leave. Then Police Sergeant Trotter, played by Geoff Arnold, arrives on skis and informs the characters that a psychotic killer is in their midst. During the first half, another murder is committed, but the person responsible could be any one of the assembled cast. There are many clues and red herrings along the way, somewhat like a game of Cluedo, as we attempt to find the identity of the culprit, but in the last scene all is revealed.
Watching The Mousetrap is like going back in time to 1952, when the play was first performed, with the cast speaking with their upper middle class clipped accents and playing the wireless to relax. It is reminiscent of days gone by, which is probably one of the reasons why the play is so popular.
This is a very clever whodunnit, which will keep the audience guessing right to the very end. The culprit’s identity is a closely guarded secret, which the audience have to vow not to reveal to anyone else, thus making the show even more enjoyable for future theatre goers.
The Mousetrap is an extremely entertaining production, which will no doubt carry on engrossing the audiences for many more years. This is a great chance to view authentic theatre history in a local environment, instead of having to go all the way to the London’s West End to watch it. This show is unmissable, and the audience absolutely lapped it up, enjoying every minute.
Tickets cost from £22.50 (booking fees may apply).
The Mousetrap is at The Lowry in Manchester from 13-18 May 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.thelowry.com or call the box office on 0843 208 6000.
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000