February 2020

The Mousetrap

In Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, one of the lead ‘characters’ is the rather gruesome nursery rhyme we all know.

Three blind mice, three blind mice,
See how they run, see how they run,
They all ran after the farmer’s wife,
Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,
Did you ever see such a thing in your life,
As three blind mice?

As with most British nursery rhymes, this one is a seemingly innocent ditty, yet Three Blind Mice has sinister undertones. And in the Mousetrap play, currently playing at the Wyvern Theatre in Swindon, you get a real sense of menace from that little tune.

Book tickets for The Mousetrap at the Wyvern here.

And it’s much the same with an Agatha Christie story. Locations are often glamorous and always normal on the surface. So whether the story is set in a seaside hotel, a London hotel or a country house events start out innocently enough. But it’s never long before murder knocks at the door or comes in through the window. And then the characters begin to unravel and the red herrings come thick and fast.

About this production of Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap

Heading the cast list is Susan Penhaligon. Now I daresay many of you will need to a certain age or that name to mean anything to you. Because, back in the mid 1970s, she starred in an infamous TV series Bouquet of Barbed wire. It might look tame these days but it was explosive and gripping stuff back then. Anyway – she, like the play, is older than me – so that’s ever a thrill. Finding something older than me.

I thought George Naylor as Christopher Wren did a good turn – as indeed the complete cast. It’s simply wonderful to see something live and three-dimensional. And who doesn’t love a good crime/whodunnit? The popularity of crime and detective shows on TV is testament to the fact that many of us do.

Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap -inside of programme showing cast list information.

In Google images you’ll see some stills from this production and many past ones – and you’ll notice how faithfully reproduced the set is from early productions. I love that. I love that sense of tradition and continuity. It’s so very… well … British I suppose.

The Plot Thickens

For obvious reasons I can’t give anything away about the plot because that would be spoilers! But the strapline on the tour company’s website: ‘Suspect Everyone’ should give you some clue as to the amount of red herrings and confusion and mystery mayhem the play contains.

And I especially can’t say ‘Whodunnit’ because I promised not to. What do I mean by that? Well the best way to find out is to go and see it! And I urge you to do so. And – to whet your appetite, here’s a trailer on YouTube from a few year ago.

So head to the Wyvern Theatre this week and catch the play while you can – and be a part of British theatre history.

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