19th March 2024

Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap play is on its 70th anniversary tour. And it’s playing at the Wyvern Theatre this week. I do urge you to get tickets and go. Book them here: https://booking.trafalgartickets.com/en/wyvern-theatre-swindon/buyingflow/tickets/15532/ After all – who doesn’t love a big of Agatha? Whether it’s a TV adaptation, one of her novels or, as here, a play. It’s hugely enjoyable and engrossing and I’m happy to recommend it to you.

Earworm

Should you go, prepare yourself to leave the theatre with an ear worm:

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?


The tune of the nursery rhyme is deployed to sinister effect throughout the play. The play’s setting heightens the tension – a snowbound English manor now a guest house run by a newly(ish) married couple who, as it turns out, don’t know much about each other. Then there’s a disparate group of guests and a policeman – one of them is a murderer and the rest potential victims.

Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap  - front cover of the programme
Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap

I’m not going to say any more than that about the plot as that would be spoilers. But I think I’m okay to say that, as with Christie’s novel The Murder of Roger Ackroyd this play plays with the genre.

The cast

There’s a couple of famous faces in the cast – always pleasing. And one of them gets bumped off – but that’s all I’m saying there!

Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap - the cast of the current tour production

Myth busting

In conversation before the play began someone said it has three different endings. This is a myth – it doesn’t. From London Theatres Direct:

Unlike the board game Clue and its subsequent film adaptationAgatha Christie’s play The Mousetrap does not have multiple endings. But in fact, one twist ending that goes against all clichés of the whodunnit formula where a detective solves a crime and exposes the remaining plot points.

About the play

From Agatha Christie.Com:

When Queen Mary was asked what she would like for her 80th birthday, she requested a new story from one of her favourite writers, Agatha Christie. The BBC got in touch with Christie and asked if she would like to write a short radio play for the Queen, which she happily obliged to and created Three Blind Mice. She donated her fee of one hundred Guineas to the Southport Infirmary Children’s Toy Fund. Unfortunately no recording of the original performance exists.

The idea for the radio play came, as was often the case with Christie, from a real-life news story in 1945 about two brothers abused in foster care, one of whom died as a result. It was a case that shocked the nation and resulted in the changing of the laws surrounding foster care a couple of years later.

The radio play was first broadcast on the BBC in 1947. Agatha Christie then adapted the 30-minute radio play in 1948 to a short story, published in May in Cosmopolitan magazine, and later in the 1950 US collection Three Blind Mice and Other Stories.

The short story version was never published in the UK on Christie’s insistence that it should not clash with the 1952 stage adaptation, famously renamed The Mousetrap. As long as the adaptation ran in London’s West End (as it has for over 60 years) the short story wasn’t to be published.


And here we are – seventy years and still going strong. As is the public’s thirst for Agatha Christie’s work in general. She IS the Queen of Crime – no doubt about it.

Don’t miss out – book here: https://booking.trafalgartickets.com/en/wyvern-theatre-swindon/buyingflow/tickets/15532/






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