Agatha Christie’s cult-classic is still a must-see for theatre fans

The Mousetrap
The Mousetrap

The Mousetrap, Congress Theatre, Eastbourne

Agatha Christie’s iconic play, The Mousetrap, ran for 60 years in London and is now on its Diamond Anniversary tour, the first time this play has ever been seen in the UK outside London.

When it started to run and run no-one could really understand why because it is certainly not one of her best plays.

However, it eventually became a cult, a must-see for every foreign visitor to London.

It’s been over 40 years since my parents took me to see it in the West End. I went to see it again in Eastbourne and I have not changed my mind about the script.

What I cannot fault is the acting in this current production and Ian Watt-Smith’s direction.

While it seems a dated piece, it was brilliantly done as they have kept true to the period and it is performed exactly as it was when it first opened in November 1952.

In the days when I saw it as a pre-teenager life was far less sophisticated and there were hardly any thrillers on TV so stage plays were more scary. It certainly made an impact on me. I remember to this day who the murderer was but I didn’t tell then and I am not telling now.

It is a must-see production at the Congress because it is a piece of theatrical history and the casting is just right. Joanna Croll gives an excellent performance as the young wife, who, together with her husband, has decided to turn her inherited historic house into a guest house. That way a group of people they do not know can come together on a snowy night and none of them know anything about each other.

Chris Gilling looks and acts like an army Major while Anne Kavanagh is the definitive retired magistrate. Ryan Saunders is great as Christopher Wren, so named because his parents wanted him to become an architect

Jonathan Woolf is Detective Sergeant Trotter who has taken to his skis to warn them one or more of them are likely to be murdered, which is just what they want to hear when they are snowed up and the telephone wires have been cut.

All the cast give first-class performances and the special effects of snow and the noise of the wind really do make you feel cold in your seats.

I am very glad I saw this production because I witnessed a piece of history that will not be repeated.

By Amanda Wilkins