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Review: The Mousetrap (Theatre Royal Brighton)

Updated: Feb 26, 2020

Murder! Murder! Agatha Christie's long running murder mystery The Mousetrap comes to Brighton Theatre Royal as part of a wider UK tour. But the question is, whodunnit?

What happens when you trap a retired army major, a rather peculiar Italian, a wretched middle-aged woman, a bubbly bordering-on-the-annoying bloke and a young lady with impeccable trousers in a large manor house? Chaos. A blizzard rages and everyone's a suspect as each of the guests, be it their coat, hat or scarf, seem to have something in common with the killer. Newly weds Giles and Mollie Raston decide to open up Monkswell Manor (with an S!) as a guesthouse and pandemonium ensues; not just because the drawing room is too cold for miserable Mrs Boyle. News of a murder in London, only thirty miles away, quickly reaches the manor but nothing seems awry until Sgt. Trotter from the local police force arrives in the hunt for the killer.

Gwyneth Strong, who is best known for her role as Cassandra in Only Fools and Horses, (Mrs Boyle) David Alcock (Mr Paravacini), Geoff Arnold (Detective Sgt. Trotter), Nick Biadon (Giles Ralston), John Griffiths (Major Metcalf), Harriett Hare (Mollie Ralston) and Saskia Vaigncourt-Strallen (Miss Caswell) all deliver controlled and assured performances throughout but Lewis Chandler, as the wildly energetic and eccentric Christopher Wren, stands out. His hilarious and highly detailed performance delivers in picking up the energy on the rare occasion of it dropping, his subtle emotional moments are mesmerising.

I was worried that with all the action in one room the play would deteriorate into stagnancy but, with the exception of one bizarre curtain down blackout in the first act, it remained purposefully energetic. The stunning stately home design enables the actors to really immerse themselves in the world of Monkswell and the casts' chemistry with one another consistently shows.

The Mousetrap is one of the greatest of the 'whodunnit' genre and it's no surprise that Agatha Christie's smash-hit is still wowing audiences today, not only in London, but now up and down the country. The famous script delivers twists and turns at every corner, and it keeps you guessing right up to the final moment. First performed in 1952, I hope that The Mousetrap continues to pull-in audiences far and wide. Thoroughly recommended!

The Mousetrap runs at Theatre Royal Brighton until the 6th of July

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