The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie, a Magical Theatre Experience and Why #KeepTheSecret

There is a story you cannot read, because it isn’t the same as watching a live performance, it is The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie, the most magical theatre experience.

There is something magical about attending a theatre production. It is a thrilling experience being immersed in a story evolving right before your very eyes, on the stage. Forget special effects; welcome instead the sound of feet on a wooden board and the masterful use of primary tools: voice, facial expressions, body language.

The actors on a stage have large gestures and welcoming body motions. They reel you in, welcome you into their stage life – their open life. Come, see, live – their hands say. Tune in, listen closely – their voices whisper. Have you taken it all in? Are you sure you caught each detail? Their eyes beckon us.

A theatre experience presents us with raw life, but through a looking glass: every detail shows, every detail counts. Theatre is life in its distilled form, pure and flavorful. Come with us, share this experience we offer so willingly. Forget your troubled life; maybe even find an answer you didn’t know you were looking for, on our stage.

The Mousetrap - Agatha Christie, first edition, published by Samuel French in 1954
The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie, First Edition, published by Samuel French in 1954

The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie

is a chiseled locked-room mystery: a group of strangers gathered in a country house cut off by the snowstorm discover that one of them is a murderer.

Death IS present in the play, coming from a desire for revenge, but not overpowering. The search for justice, the desire to solve the murder is the force that moves the play forward – even if the murderer proves to be sympathetic through life circumstances and mitigating reasons.

What is real and what is not? Find out by yourself, it is theatre and the work of Agatha Christie, after all.

A word of advice: patrons attending the St Martin’s production are asked to tip their cab driver on arrival – a bad tip usually means that the cabby will shout the murderer’s name and speed off.

In theatre there are no second chances, second takes or cuts – and for this I truly admire its actors.

In the South African Pieter Toerien Productions of The Mousetrap:

The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie, South African Theatre Production  @PieterToerien @Monte_Theatre
The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie, South African Theatre Production @PieterToerien @Monte_Theatre

I loved the passionate interpretation of Melissa Haiden as Mollie Ralston, the frank way in which Mark Sykes performed the role of Giles Ralston, the epic rendition of Matthew Lotter as Christopher Wren, the stellar appearance of Michele Maxwell in Mrs. Boyle, the virtuoso performance of Malcolm Terrey as Major Metcalf, the mature interpretation of Shannyn Fourie in Miss Casewell, the colorful performance of West End Star Mark Wynter as Mr Paravicini as well as the meticulous character Aiden Scott instilled in Detective Sergeant Trotter.

The South African production of The Mousetrap is directed by JONATHAN TAFLER who played the role of Mr Paravicini in the St Martin’s production of The Mousetrap on the West End.

Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre
24 January – 3 March
Performances: Wed – Fri at 20h00, Sat at 16h00 and 20h00, Sun at 15h00
Tickets: R100, R150, R200, R240
Computicket or Theatre Box Office 011 511 1818

Interesting facts about The Mousetrap:

The Mousetrap is the longest-running play in the history of London’s West End. In 2019 the production headed into its 68th year at the St. Martin’s Theatre. Since 6 October 1952 the play has reached well over 27,000 performances.

The Mousetrap was initially performed as a radio play in 1952 and was broadcast by the BBC with the title Three Blind Mice. The radio play had been commissioned in 1947 by Queen Mary, who was a Christie fan. There is no tape of that broadcast known to exist. The forty-five minute play was based on a short story on which Christie had been working. Due to the extremely warm welcome by the audience, Christie elaborated the script. Its first performance was on October 6, 1952, when The Mousetrap became a stage play.

There is still an original cast member in each production: recording of a radio broadcast the play opens with. The voice belongs to English actor Deryck Guyler who, thus, has ‘appeared’ in every UK showing of The Mousetrap to date…

Richard Attenborough and his wife Sheila Sims starred in the original production.

The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie - Richard Attenborough and his wife Sheila Sims starred in the original production

Most of its sound cues – wind, bells, slamming doors – are created live backstage.

The Mousetrap has never been adapted in any other format.

Christie signed over the royalties from the play to her grandson, Mathew Prichard, at its opening in 1952.

Agatha Christie made her last public appearance at The Mousetrap in 1974, age 84.

Each performance ends with one actor from the company addressing the audience: “Now you have seen The Mousetrap you are our partners in crime, and we ask you to preserve the tradition by keeping the secret of whodunit locked in your heart“. Have you watched it? If so, we are “partners in crime”.

One Reply to “The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie, a Magical Theatre Experience and Why #KeepTheSecret”

  1. Thank you so much for stopping by, Anita.
    I remember borrowing Agatha Christie’s “An Autobiography” during my teen years, a book that stayed in my heart as many of her works. I also remember a much treasured vinyl recording of one of her books, especially its sounds effects 😉

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