Murder mystery fans are in for a treat with The Mousetrap play – Agatha Christie’s ultimate ‘whodunnit’
Officially the world’s longest-running stage show, The Mousetrap celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2022 and now counts over 28,000 performances to its name at the West End’s St Martin’s Theatre! This tense, tight and thrilling whodunnit is a legend of the West End, and one that everyone should see at least once. Will you be able to work out who the culprit is?
Set in the early 50s in Monkswell Manor, the play centres around a mysterious string of murders in London and in the Manor itself. Due to adverse weather conditions, Mollie and Giles Ralston’s Manor and guest house becomes sealed off to the outside world. It doesn’t take long for the guests – including gruff Major Metcalf, brusque Mrs. Boyle, eccentric and nervous young architect Christopher Wren and strange, secretive Mr. Paravicini – to realise that they are snowed in with a murderer. As panic ensues, suspicions are high and everyone becomes a suspect. Guests start dropping like flies whilst those left alive try to solve the mystery of the murderer’s identity.
The Mousetrap play is a classic murder mystery by Agatha Christie, arguably the greatest crime writer to ever put pen to paper. Her stories, including the Poirot series and And Then There Were None, are beloved for their intricate plots, psychological surprises and twists that will have you flipping back through the pages to see what you missed. and has its origins in a real-life murder case in 1945.
The Mousetrap play is, true to form, famed for having a twist ending which the audience are asked to keep secret so that the show is not ruined for future theatregoers. It was written by Queen of Crime Christie and began life as a radio play called Three Blind Mice, commissioned by the BBC for Queen Mary.
It soon moved to the stage, opening first at Nottingham Playhouse and then in London at the Ambassadors Theatre in 1952. It immediately gripped theatregoers with its twists and turns, and despite Christie’s famous claim that she didn’t intent it to run for more than eight months, it is still a mainstay of the West End to this day. It didn’t even miss a performance when it moved over to its current home in 1974, and no film or television adaptation can be produced until it has been closed for six months. With no sign of it slowing down any time soon, the only way to find out whodunnit is to see it live!
The current cast of The Mousetrap play includes Sara Lessore as Mollie Ralston, George Banks as Giles Ralston, Jonathan Tynan-Moss as Christopher Wren, Sarah Whitlock as Mrs. Boyle, Philip Childs as Major Metcalf, Phoebe Sparrow as Miss Casewell, Rob Pomfret as Mr. Paravicini, and George Jones as Detective Sergeant Trotter.
The cast is a small unit of actors that usually changes annually, and some have broken records for their commitment to the show. Original cast member Deryk Guyler died in 1999, but his voice still rings out across the auditorium in a recorded radio news bulletin. David Raven even got into the Guinness Book of Records as “Most Durable Actor”, having played Major Metcalf at 4,575 performances between 1957 and 1968. Other famous faces to appear in The Mousetrap play include Richard Attenborough and Julie Walters.
The Mousetrap play keeps the audience on the edge of their seats from start until finish and ends with an unforeseen twist! Those who love a good murder mystery will thoroughly enjoy this classic “whodunnit.”
The Mousetrap is recommended for those aged 12 and up. Please note that children under the age of 5 are not allowed in the St Martin’s Theatre.