Everyone loves a good old-fashioned whodunnit, right?
I’ve certainly watched my fair share of crime mysteries over the years. From an early age watching the likes of Agatha Christie, Miss Marple and Columbo to more modern-day dramas. I’ve always loved trying to work out who committed the crime.
When it comes to board games, the Waddington's Cluedo was always my first choice and I even did a murder mystery evening for my hen night!
But I’ve never seen a murder mystery stage play, so was more than a little excited to see Agatha Christie’s, The Mousetrap, which is the world’s longest running play, and currently celebrating its 70th anniversary tour.
It was a full house for opening night at the Bristol Hippodrome on Monday, July 23, with a surprising mix of old and young, all ready to have their go at solving the murder.
The play beings with news spreading of a murder in London and seven strangers who find themselves snowed in at a remote guesthouse.
When a police sergeant then arrives at Monkswell Manor Guest House the strangers discover, to their horror, that a killer in in their midst!
It’s their job to find out who the murderer is, but will they do it in time, or will there be another victim?
Well, of course there is!
I’m more used to a musical extravaganza when going to the theatre and trying to take in all the stunning sets, creative props and fantastical costumes.
This performance felt very different because the set doesn’t change and there are no additional characters.
It felt more intimate and as such more like you are a part of it, than watching it.
Transported back in time, I found myself silently playing detective, scrutinising every line, expressions from the characters and the clues being presented, which was fun.
It brilliantly puts each of the characters into the frame at one time or another, so that in essence anyone of them could have done it.
At the interval, you could hear the audience turning to one another saying: “Well, who do you think it is then?”
Immediately, I went away from one of the guests committing the crime, thinking that the guest house owners had to be involved somehow.
Mollie (Rachel Dawson) and Giles Ralston (Michael Lyle) are the owners of the newly opened boarding house and are excited to welcome their first guests.
First to arrive is architect Christopher Wren (Shaun McCourt). He was definitely one of my favourite characters, both playful and silly. He brought a real element of fun to the play.
Mrs Boyle is the exact opposite. Stern, curt and snobbish, it doesn’t take her long to upset the other guests. I would never have guessed she was played by Catherine Shipton, well known for playing Duffy in Casualty.
It was impossible however, not to recognise Todd Carty, who played Major Metcalf.
His career launched in the late 1970s as Tucker Jenkins in Grange Hill, to Mark Fowler in EastEnders and the PC Gabriel Kent in The Bill.
Alongside the soap stars are Miss Casewell (Leigh Lothian) and Mr Paravacini played by Steven Elliot.
Joining them to help solve the mystery is Garyn Williams as Detective Sergeant Trotter.
This genre defining murder mystery from the world’s best-selling novelist of all time definitely had the Cluedo element to it, which I loved.
Following its premiere in the West End in 1952, The Mousetrap has since been performed there over 29,000 times, selling more than 10 million tickets.
You could say it’s the theatre’s longest secret and now I’ve joined the tens of thousands who now know just who did do it! Did I get it right? I can’t possibly say.
The Mousetrap 70th year
Thankfully, to mark 70 years, The Mousetrap is visiting town and cities up and down the country and is on at the Hippodrome until Saturday, July 29, so you can find out too!
To get your tickets, visit https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/the-mousetrap/bristol-hippodrome/.
Tickets start from £13 plus online booking fee.
REVIEW: Trudi Bird
PHOTO: Newspaper pic by Matt Crockett