The venerable Metro Theatre begins its 61st season with an equally revered murder mystery, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap.
The well known “world’s longest-running play”, now in its 70th year on London’s West End stages makes its way to Vancouver’s Metro Theatre until October 7th. A classic murder mystery, whodunit, The Mousetrap is surprisingly light and comedic. All the characters and components of a prime Agatha Christie mystery are present; the young couple, an old Major, a curmudgeonly old widow, an eccentric younger character, a trouser-wearing spinster, suspicious foreigner plus the local cop, all snow-in and stranded in a stately country house with a murderer on the loose.
The play is a slice of post-war England featuring the defined class structure and Received Pronunciation suited to the times when Christie wrote the play. After 70 years, sensibilities have changed but like everything the ‘Queen of Crime’ has written it still stands the test of time. Crime and punishment, classism, and making ends-meet still represent today’s culture, the simplicity of The Mousetrap’s period setting allows audiences to apply their own weight to the themes or just view the play as a piece of escapism as you joins the players in deducing whodunit.
The legacy of The Mousetrap is in more than capable hands as director Don Briard and the entire creative team have crafted a classic stage mystery, with Christies script providing the tension of mystery and a sense of Am-Dram that seems perfectly fitting of a London West End stage. As the curtain rises, audiences are taken to a cold winter night in the realistically recreated great hall of Monkswell Manor, designed by Emily Dotson.
The cast brings an assortment of stage experience, but everyone makes good work of the quick-paced, dialogue-heavy script. Leading the cast as Monkswell Manor owners Mr & Mrs Ralston are NY-trained Sarah Olberg, bringing her European training and experience to the role, and Evan Kelly, who’s natural stage-presence belies his lack of formal acting training. The Ralstons have just opened their Manor as a Guest House, welcoming their first crop of guests; bursting with Mr Bean-like energy, Lucas Simon as a quirky, flamboyant Christopher Wren, Rosemary Schuster as the uppity, Mrs Boyle, Roger Monk as the officious and nosy Major Metcalf, Celeste Musseau creates an air of intrigue around Miss Casewell. As well, Tom Kavadias is an enigmatic stranger, Mr Paravicini taking shelter from the snowstorm and Russell Cripps as Sgt Trotter arriving to investigate a recent London. Known for her red herrings, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap has plenty, as everyone could be a suspect in the investigation but whatever you do, don’t spoil the outcome! After 70 years and millions of attendees, audiences have managed to keep the ending a secret so millions more get the full experience of the mystery.
The fast pace and lightly comedic script makes the play a breezy delight, whether you’re a Christie fan or not, The Mousetrap provides a classic 2 hours of mystery and mirth. Enjoy the play for yourself until October 7, 2023 at Metro Theatre, 1370 Marine Drive SW (in Marpole), find showtimes and tickets at metrotheatre.com/the-mousetrap.