Performing the world’s longest-running stage play is a daunting task, but it would almost be impossible to celebrate the playwright without it.
In this year’s Master Playwright Festival, Agatha Christie’s most famous play, The Mousetrap, was a fitting tribute to the mystery writer’s skill.
The first performance of The Mousetrap took place in London’s West End in 1952 as an adaptation of Agatha Christie’s 1947 radio play, Three Blind Mice, which she wrote as a tribute to a member of the royal family.
Since then, the play has taken on a life of its own, and in 2012, the play celebrated its 25,000th performance in England, in addition to shows in Toronto and many other cities.
The Winnipeg show at the Dramatic Arts Centre on Ellice Avenue was well attended on Sat. Feb. 11, as people came to see what the famous play was about.
Like many of Agatha Christie’s works, The Mousetrap takes place in a country house, with an eclectic group of people who come together for a specific purpose.
In this story, Giles and Molly Ralston have started their own country inn, Monkswell Manor Guest House, where they welcome their first set of visitors just as a heavy snowfall cuts them off from outside communication.
Soon, the hosts learn of the imminent arrival of Sergeant Trotter, who arrives on skis with news of a threat against someone at the guest house. He explains that a recent murder in London appears to be the first of three and the police believe at least one person at Monkswell Manor is in danger.
The story proceeds in typical Christie form after the death of one of the characters, with multiple suspects and many possible motives.
When the murderer was revealed in a sudden plot twist, many audience members were likely surprised by the outcome.
Production members of the play included Amanda Nickels as Molly Ralston, Brian Langlotz as Giles Ralston, Kelley Hirst as Mrs. Boyle, and other members of the Dramatic Arts Centre in the remaining roles.
Although the acting was somewhat uneven and the English accents tended to come and go, the play generally went quite well with the classic Christie storytelling helping to move the mystery along to its dramatic conclusion.
Unfortunately for many Agatha Christie fans, The Mousetrap played only in the first week of the Master Playwright Festival. However, with other classic mysteries to see, no one needs to feel deprived.