Fringe Box



Stage Dragon Review: The Mousetrap – Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

Published on: 1 Nov, 2023
Updated on: 1 Nov, 2023

By Ference Hepp

The brilliance of Agatha Christie’s writing is brought to Guildford this week in The Mousetrap. The vintage play has proven itself to be an enduring masterpiece since its debut in London in 1952.

Produced by Adam Spiegel and directed by Ian Talbot and Denise Silvey, the action unfolds within the confines of Monkswell Manor Guest House, a well-constructed set brimming with exits, entrances, stairways, and windows, reminiscent of a classic farce. The attention to detail creates a realistic and immersive environment.

Palpable chemistry between Mollie and Giles Ralston, played by Perdita Ogbourne and Michael Lyle. Photos Matt Crockett

The owners, played by Michael Lyle and Perdita Ogbourne, have a palpable chemistry on stage.

Ogbourne, normally an understudy, delivers an outstanding performance as Mollie, infusing her character with emotion and energy while remaining entirely believable and avoiding any excessive theatrics.

Shaun McCourt takes on the role of Christopher Wren, and McCourt embraces Wren’s pompous demeanour, instantly introducing an aura of intrigue. Meanwhile, Catherine Shipton embodies the domineering and endlessly complaining Mrs Boyle, a character reminiscent of the
unforgettable Mrs Richards from Fawlty Towers.

Shipton infuses the role with humour, adding a light touch to the production. Todd Carty plays Major Metcalf, who is more of a caricature of an old-style posh army major, however, there may be more to this character than meets the eye. Leigh Lothian takes on the role of the serious and matter-of-fact Miss Casewell, while Steven Elliott brings a flamboyant quality to Mr Paravicini, completing the intriguing guest lineup.

The mystery at the heart of The Mousetrap is shrouded in uncertainty, and Detective Sgt Trotter, played by Garyn Williams, is tasked with solving the murder that has occurred at the guest house.

Det Sgt Trotter, played by Garyn Williams. Photo Matt Crockett

Williams brings an excitable and enthusiastic energy to the character, extracting hidden truths from various suspects with both group and individual interrogations.

Agatha Christie’s genius is evident in the fact that all the characters are well-defined and distinct, making them all potential suspects in the murder case. This uncertainty keeps the audience engaged and speculating throughout the performance, and the interval sparks animated conversations among theatregoers, with various theories and predictions taking shape.

This play offers something for everyone – whether you are familiar with the story or not. It seamlessly weaves together elements of murder mystery, comedy, farce, drama, and sentiment, ensuring that the audience remains thoroughly entertained and engrossed.

The characters’ depth and the unfolding mystery keep the suspense alive, making it difficult to predict the outcome. As we progress, Trotter conducts further interrogations and reconstructs the events leading up to the murder, ultimately revealing the truth with a plot twist that is best left unspoiled.

The enduring appeal of this production is a testament to its well-crafted characters, gripping
plot, and the skill of the actors who have portrayed these roles over its long history, totalling
over 400 performers.

As it continues to tour and captivate audiences, it is clear that this iconic play will remain a beloved classic for years to come. For those who have the privilege of witnessing this timeless mystery, one thing is certain – you must keep its secret to yourself, just as countless others have done for decades.

The Mousetrap runs until Saturday, November 4, and tickets are available via www.yvonne- or 01483 440000.

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Responses to Stage Dragon Review: The Mousetrap – Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

  1. Nigel Keane Reply

    November 2, 2023 at 2:17 am

    I attended Tuesday evening and found this was an excellent performance which my wife and I both enjoyed. and I certainly agree with the five star rating. I wish the company great success during their marathon tour of the British Isles.

    The reference in the play to ration books brought back memories of queuing with my mother to get what we hoped would be a decent weekend joint from the local butcher.

    I was also delighted to see Ian Talbot is still directing as I knew him from his days at the Open Air Theatre in Regents Park.

  2. Anthony Mallard Reply

    November 2, 2023 at 9:36 am

    My wife and I went to see this play earlier this week. It is a very well performed touring production of this Agatha Christie play, still running at the St Martin’s Theatre in the West End.

    As with all her plays and books the twist at the end underlines her skill as a writer.

    I saw the London Performance in the early 1960s and, more than 60 years on, it was still most enjoyable. How the secret of the ending has been kept for 70 years I shall never understand. It has, and that’s part of its enduring attraction.

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