Venue: Theatre Royal Sydney (Sydney NSW), 8 – 30 Oct, 2023
Writer: Agatha Christie
Director: Robyn Nevin
Cast: Laurence Boxhall, Gerry Connolly, Tom Conroy, Charlotte Friels, Adam Murphy, Anna O’Byrne, Alex Rathgeber, Geraldine Turner
Images by Brian Geach
Since opening in 1952, Agatha Christie’s classic whodunnit The Mousetrap has been entertaining audiences in London, as the now famously known longest-running show of the West End. In a guesthouse named Monkswell Manor, a resident gets murdered, and we try to solve the mystery. Christie’s stories can be easily dismissed as generic or repetitive, “seen one, seen them all” but her immense popularity has never waned, proving there is a certain magic to her work.
Directed by Robyn Nevin, this is a new but faithful rendering of the 70 year-old play, in the definitive style of an Agatha Christie show. Traditional and completely predictable, but nonetheless entertaining, The Mousetrap delivers everything adored by legions of Christie fans. There is mystery, gentle thrills , characteristic humour, and old world elegance (thanks to Isabelle Hudson’s production design and Trudy Dalgleish’s lights). One could hardly care if the concluding revelation, turns out to be no surprise at all.
It is a lively cast that takes the stage, with actors fully embracing the jaunty old English tone of performance. Anna O’Byrne is highly convincing as owner of the house Mollie Ralston, perfectly mimicking the voice and physicality of leading women from that bygone era. Laurence Boxhall leaves a remarkable impression as Christopher Wren; very funny and very charming, with one of the more inventive approaches for material that is arguably outdated. Also compelling is Tom Conroy as Detective Sergeant Trotter, who brings great precision and a much needed sense of variation to the role.
Where The Mousetrap is unable to provide a refreshing experience, it delivers a level of polish and professionalism, that shines a light, on the dedication and competency of our artists. The writer might be the star, but there is no denying all the unsung heroes who keep her name eternally in lights.