City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

The Mousetrap (2016), King's Theatre, Review

By Imogen Rowe - Posted on 18 October 2016

Show Details
King's Theatre
Autumn 2016 Tour
Ian Watt-Smith (Director) Sir Stephen Waley-Cohen and Adam Spiegel (Producers) Peter Vaughn-Clarke (Lighting Designer)
Anna Andresen (Mollie Ralston) Nick Barclay (Giles Ralston) Tony Boncza (Major Metcalf) Lewis Collier (Sgt Trotter) Gregory Cox (Mr Paravicini) Amy Downham (Miss Casewell) Oliver Gully (Christopher Wren) Sarah Whitlock (Mrs Boyle)
Running time: 

Once again, Agatha Christie’s beloved mystery play is back on an Edinburgh stage – this time to celebrate its record breaking 60th anniversary. The production has been on stage since 1952, and began the current tour in May this year, having recently marked its 26,000th performance.

This is itself is quite an incredible achievement, considering the huge change in audiences from the 1950s to the 2010s; the production continues to sell out shows, it is remarkable translatable, and although the story and time period remain the same, the enjoyment is timeless and the characters and motivations are as well.

The scene: a cold winter’s night, heavy snowfall, the middle of the countryside, darkness is falling.

From the wireless comes disturbing news from London… news of a murder.

Mr and Mrs Ralston, played flawlessly by Nick Barclay and Anna Andresen, are embarking on a new life as landlords, but they do not suspect that their beautiful Monkswell Guest House will soon play host to intrigue, violence and death.

Their first guests include the tropes one would expect; a lively young man with many ecstatic opinions, an old army major, a rather stern older lady and a mysterious, private young woman. They are joined by one other, unexpected foreign guest, and the scene is set for murder.

The cast taking this play around the UK are clearly very comfortable in their roles, performing effortlessly in their beautifully lavish set. Oliver Gully sparkles in his portrayal of the excitable Christopher Wren, and Gregory Cox’s Paravicini is pitch perfect.

There is humour to balance the tragedy and graceful use of the entire space – although wordy this is easy to watch. Christie’s script is rich, and on one or two occasions some clever red herrings were not given enough time to create the desired effect. It is not innovative, but that is not why it has survived; it is quintessentially Christie, and that is what is beautiful.

If there is one word to describe The Mousetrap you may have a choice: "elegant", "timeless" and "intriguing" all spring to mind.

Because of its record-breaking success and longevity there are many many people who have already seen it, and return to watch it for a second, third, fourth time. For those to whom the experience is new, it is wonderful that, even in the 21st century where technology and spoilers are everywhere, The Mousetrap still remains a mystery.

The very last thing we hear as we applaud what has been a wonderful show, is a respectful request that we, as their partners in crime, keep the secret. It is a nice and fairly prudent touch to end with, and I think perhaps because of the nature of the play, because of the love with which it is performed and watched, and because of the wonderful integrity of the author, it will remain a mystery, and will remain on our stages for years to come.

17-22 October 2016, 7.30pm (matinees Wed & Sat 2.30pm)