New Alexandra Theatre
Sir Stephen Waley-Cohen and Adam Spiegel present:
The Mousetrap: Agatha Christie
Runs: 2h, 20m: one interval: till 9th February
Start: 7.30 pm
Tkts: 0844 871 3011 (bkg fee): www.atgtickets.com/birmingham
Review: Jan Pick
Still sparkling after all these years!
Any theatregoer still scratching their head in puzzlement at the ongoing mystery of the popularity of ‘The Mousetrap’, still going strong after sixty years, need puzzle no further. The mystery will be solved after a trip to the New Alexandra Theatre, where the Diamond Anniversary Tour has touched down for a week’s run. Or elsewhere on the tour, of course.
Fielding a strong cast, which includes Karl Howman, and Graham Seed – last heard by me falling off a roof in Ambridge – did he fall or was he pushed? – the audience knew they were in good hands as soon as the plush red curtain rose on a beautiful set, nostalgically recreating the country manor guest housel, with the sounds of a snow storm outside, preparing to cut the guests and owners off from the world, and a sinister announcement of the murder of an elderly lady booming out from the wireless. The perfect setting for a murder mystery.
All the cast played their parts with impeccable expertise, the women being particularly good. Jemma Walker’s Mollie Ralston showed the gradual onset of fear with a delicate touch, Clare Wilkie manages to show the vulnerability beneath Miss Casewell’s ‘mannish’ exterior, and Elizabeth Power’s Miss Boyle is suitably brusque. Among the men, Bruno Langley is convincingly aggressive and protective as Mollie’s husband, Karl Howman did a nice line in mysterious Italians showing up unexpectedly to join the fun, and Steven France, as the nervy young Christopher Wren, in eye-catching yellow trousers, won everyone over with his high jinks and comically tactless remarks. Enough red herrings were scattered to amuse and mislead, and Bob Saul worked hard as the poor policeman trying to sort everything and everyone out. Sound – one quibble here, the wireless always came straight on without the time for valves to warm up – and lighting enhanced the tension as the play spiralled towards its climax, and the denouement, when it came, was satisfyingly unexpected.
A great evening’s entertainment, supplying exactly what it promises – no disappointments here! Get a ticket if you can, and find out who dunnit – you won’t find out any other way – it’s a secret!
Christopher Wren: Steven France
Mr. Paravicini: Karl Howman
Giles Ralston: Bruno Langley
Mrs Boyle: Elizabeth Power
Detective Seargeant Trotter: Bob Saul
Major Metcalf: Graham Seed
Mollie Ralston: Jemma Walker
Miss Casewell: Clare Wilkie
Director: Ian Watt-Smith
Lighting Designer: Peter Vaughan Clarke
Sound Designer for Orbital Sound: Richard Carter
Casting Director: Marc Frankum
Costume Supervisor: Janet Hudson Holt
Production Manager: Simon Gooding
Company Stage Manager: Lloyd Martin
Deputy Stage Maager: Fay Mansfield
Assistant Stage Manager: Becky Pennick
Technical Assistant/Stage Manager: David Neill
Head of Wardrobe: Bet Burrow
Production Lighting Engineer: Sonic Harrison