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The Mousetrap, New Theatre, Cardiff – Review

Thanks to the New TheatreCardiff  for inviting us along to see the show in exchange for this review.

Having enjoyed this production once before I took to my seat with an air of caution, praying I wouldn’t be tipped off part way through the play and reminded of what the outcome would be. I’m very thankful to say I was just as shocked the second time around.

The story of the play follows Mollie and Giles Ralston, who have opened up their recently inherited property as a guest house; Monkswell Manor, as they welcome their first set of guests. The unfortunate timing means each guest arrives in the middle of a snowstorm, prompting each to complain about the snow covered drive their car refused to take on.

The play opens with whistling in the tune of Three Blind Mice followed by a woman’s scream. The curtain rises.

As the first scene prepares to take place a news reader can be heard on the radio reporting on a murder that took place earlier that day. The man describes someone they are looking to get in contact with as a man wearing a dark overcoat, lightly coloured scarf and a felt hat. Enter: Mrs Ralston wearing a dark overcoat, lightly coloured scarf and a felt hat. She bustles round the stage tidying. Enter: Mr Ralston wearing a dark overcoat, lightly coloured scarf and a felt hat, much to the humour of the audience who are lulled into believing Mrs Ralston must be the one wanted by the police.

Susan Penhaligon in The Mousetrap (Photo by Johann Persson)

This costume theme follows on with every character that is introduced. We meet the eccentric Mr Wren, a very particular Mrs Boyle, military man Major Metcalf, the very private Miss Casewell, and ‘the unexpected guest’; Mr Paravicini. The final character to be introduced is Sgt Trotter who also arrives in a dark overcoat, lightly coloured scarf and a felt hat.

Sgt Trotter arrives at the house on ski’s on a mission to keep its inhabitants safe from the murderer on the loose who he believes is on the way to Monkswell Manor. As the play continues, we see further into each character’s personality and learn what brought them to the guest house.

The worlds longest running play is one that’s been enjoyed by people from all over and is a true classic, with the performance being kept close to the original you are drawn into the story and can enjoy it just as Agatha Christie intended.

As you enjoy the play a cold chill can be felt, whether this was fully intended or just down to poor theatre heating it worked. As the characters felt the cold and complained of draughts you felt it with them, drawing you in even further.

Throughout the play whispers ripple through the audience as clues are revealed. You can convince yourself you’ve solved the mystery of who murdered Mrs Lion at 24 Culver Street but are you right?

With plenty of laughs throughout, this classic whodunnit is a must see for anyone who thinks themselves as a Poirot and whether or not you’re an Agatha Christie Fan (aren’t we all?!) this is enjoyment guaranteed.

The Mousetrap is showing until Saturday 5th October at Cardiff’s New Theatre.

For more information and to book tickets, click here.