Bristol Hippodrome

 

The Mousetrap - August 2016

Setting a mousetrap...

I know ‘whodunit’ in this Agatha Christie melodrama but I am not telling you.

I was sworn to secrecy at the end of The Mousetrap which is playing the Bristol Hippodrome this week.

The play always ends with one of main characters asking the audience not to tell adding ‘you are all partners in crime now’ but had I guessed whodunit before the performance ended?

Like all good murder mysteries everyone at some time is under suspicion.

Now while I readily admit I have to cheat in the dastardly board game called Monopoly I am excellent at Cluedo and usually get who did it, with what and in which room long before my opponents.

I am also pretty good at figuring out whodunit among the usual suspects of crime dramas unless of course it is one of the obscure Scandinavian productions as they don’t stick to the rules and give clues which quite frankly don’t make sense – I blame the language barrier and the lack of a butler.

But not this time and I can’t share with you who I thought it was and why I got it wrong.

I certainly didn’t guess the culprit in another mystery masterpiece written by Miss Christie renamed And Then There Were None which scared the living daylights out of me when I watched the black and white film as a child.

Apart from a healthy helping of reality or cookery shows we live on a diet of television crime investigations so how did I think this story written in the 1930s and first performed on stage in the early 1950s stands the test of time well.

I really enjoyed it although my husband Rob fell asleep for a short moment in the second half and a former work colleague and film buff who also lives at Nailsea and saw Tuesday night’s performance thought it too slow.

I loved the set – a formal panelled drawing room in a grand house - the full-on and subdued lighting, the tinkering on the piano of the nursery rhyme Three Blind Mice, the felt hats and snow skis, the use of the volume on the wireless and does the telephone work?

The clues are all there and it does connect up.

The play had its origins in the real-life case of the death of a boy, Dennis O'Neill, who died while in the foster care of a Shropshire farmer and his wife in 1945.

The aforementioned retired Highways Agency engineer Martin Lynch, of Turnbury Avenue, remembers the original set as being Art Deco from posters outside the London theatre back in the 1960s.

His wife Teresa saw it at St Martin's Theatre a decade or more ago (she couldn’t remember whodunit) and again last night at Bristol and loved both performances.

And local critic Gerry Parker told of travelling up to the West End to see The Mousetrap with his late wife Bridie in the late 1960s as she thought its run would come to an end soon.

Little did they know at the time The Mousetrap would become the world’s longest running stage production at its London home and it recently celebrated its 26,000th performance.

The 60th anniversary and first ever UK tour is also breaking box office records and approaching 1,000 performances and has now been seen by nearly a million people.

So whodunit?

Was is straight-laced Mollie Ralston the proprietor of Monkswell Manor played by Anna Andresen who has also made an appearance in the Miss Marples TV series; eccentric Christoper Wren played by Shakespearean actor Oliver Gully; bossy whingebag Mrs Boyle played by Louise Jameson wo is best known for her role as Leela in Dr Who; retired army man Major Metcalf played by Tony Boncza who has appeared on EastEnders; stage and soap actress Amy Downham plays the manly Miss Casewell; the affable Giles Ralston who married to Mollie played by seasoned repertory actor Nick Barclay a dead ringer (forgive the pun) for Gavin & Stacey star Rob Brydon; with a fake foreign accent and wearing make-up was it Mr Paravicini played by Old Vic veteran Gregory Cox; or Middlesbrough-born stage star Lewis Collier as Sgt Trptter who appeared in the 2015 action thriller Checkmate with Vinnie Jones?

Go along and find out for yourself I recommend it.

It is spiffingly good tale with some truly dark moments and dialogue but these are offset with dashes of humour.

Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap is at the Bristol Hippodrome until Saturday, August 13.

Carol Deacon

PHOTOS: Amy Downham

The Mousetrap

 

PREVIEW: Agatha Christie’s blockbuster murder mystery The Mousetrap is on tour and arrives at The Bristol Hippodrome from Tuesday to Saturday, August 9-13.

The cast for the 2016 tour includes Anna Andresen (Mollie Ralston), Nick Barclay (Giles Ralston), Tony Boncza (Major Metcalf), Lewis Collier (Sgt Trotter), Gregory Cox (Mr Paravicini), Amy Downham (Miss Casewell) and Oliver Gully (Christopher Wren) who will join the previously announced Louise Jameson (Doctor Who, EastEnders, Doc Martin) as Mrs Boyle.

The production originally opened at Nottingham Theatre Royal in 1952 starring the late Richard Attenborough and his wife Sheila Sim.

Following its current record-breaking West End run it began its journey across the breadth of the country, visiting towns and cities which include Bristol.

 Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap has been the world’s longest running stage production at its London home since breaking the record in 1958 and recently celebrated its 26,000th performance.

The 60th Anniversary – and first ever - UK tour of this beloved murder mystery is approaching 1,000 performances and has now been seen by nearly a million people, having broken box office records in many of its tour venues.

Tickets from £16.90 by clicking HERE.

Concessions available at certain performances.

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