Photos – James Morgan
If you thought you had to spend thousands of dollars and travel to London's West End to get the chance to see Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap, the world's longest running theatrical production, well think again. The Mousetrap is in its 60th year of performance and as part of its Diamond Jubilee celebrations, 60 productions are being held around the world. Now it's in Brisbane and it is Queensland audiences' turn to experience this famous "Who Dunit" with the production finishing up its tour at QPAC over the next few weeks.
I must admit my bias upfront and profess my love of Agatha Christie's crime writing. No other author in the world has ever out sold her or been as prolific a writer in the crime genre. The Mousetrap is so beautifully written with the characters, their peccadilloes and their intriguing relationships, the tension of impending death - Who will die? When will they die? Also the wittiness of the dialogue and the way the plot and motives unfold; the list goes on.
The Mousetrap is set in an old English manor house where six guests have booked in. A young couple, Mollie Ralston (Christy Sullivan) and Giles Ralston (Gus Murray), have newly ventured into running the guesthouse and with the arrival of their first lot of guests they soon realise they'll have their work cut out for them. The guests arrive one by one amid a terrible snow storm and each is just as eccentric as the next. Before too long a police detective sergeant enters to question the guests in relation to a recent murder in London. Here the mystery shifts gear with neither the tension nor moments of light black comedy ever waning.
The entire cast give stellar performances, and while some of the characters are more charming, endearing and entertaining than others, no one 'steals the show'. The tightness of this all Australian ensemble shines through and is certainly one of the strengths of the performance. Fabulous and realistic 1950's English set and costumes complete the tone. The lighting and sounds are also just the right touch and heighten the sensibilities of the piece perfectly. Director Gary Young has certainly shown his respect for Christie's work in allowing the dialogue and the characters to give us the juicy tid-bits, indicators, clues and delightful red herrings that adorn this script.
The Mousetrap is intelligent, pacey and full of all the intriguing psychological elements of a great "Who Dunit", as it should be, it's Agatha Christie. While those not as familiar with her work and the post-war British world her crime thrillers were set in may find the characters and the setting slightly kitch. However, for me, these elements and the direction enhanced the overall feeling of watching and experiencing an authentic Christie work and a theatrical piece of history. Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap, playing in Brisbane, is a once in a life time opportunity that no theatre goer should miss.
by Agatha Christie
Venue: Playhouse, QPAC
Dates: December 28, 2012 – January 20, 2013
Produced in Australia by Michael Coppel, Louise Withers, Linda Bewick in association with Adrian Barnes by arrangement with Mousetrap Productions Ltd London