Om and I went to the Howmet Playhouse in Whitehall tonight to see The Mousetrap, by Agatha Christie. It's the longest continually running play in history, since 1952. It's a great, classic who-dun-it, having been spoofed many times. Even so, I won't give away the ending.
We had an extra reason for attending, in that a friend of ours, Nick, played the part of Christopher Wren.
Molly Ralston (right) and Giles Ralston (left) have just opened a guest house, and are expecting their first customers just as a huge snowstorm is descending. The big news on the radio is a murder in London which is yet unsolved. Christopher Wren arrives first. He's a strange young man with an odd sense of humor, named after the great architect by his parents who hoped he would follow in that profession.
The characters are delightful stereotypes. I can call them delightful, because they were originals, not copies. Mrs. Boyle, the matronly critic; Major Metcalf, the blustery retired military man; Miss Casewell, the masculine socialist; and Mr Paravicini, the mysterious unknown stranger; all arrive for the weekend. Here, Mrs. Boyle tells Mr. Paravicini that the house cannot be properly run without servants.
Christopher enjoys annoying Mrs. Boyle, while everyone else just finds her attitudes insufferable.
The police ring up and say they are sending a Sergeant to the house. Molly tries to explain that the snow is so deep no one can get through. However, the Sergeant soon arrives on skis. His mission is to protect everyone because the London murderer left a paper behind with two addresses, the one where the other death occurred, and this one. There is a complex connection with the past, creating a motive for the first murder and the policeman is convinced that one or more of the people in the room are in danger, also from someone who is present. When the phone line is cut, they begin to take him seriously.
The murder occurs! End of Act 1.
Act 2 brings out the truth. But on the way there, everyone begins to mistrust everyone else. Molly and Giles suspect each other, and Giles accuses Christopher of fooling around with Molly. Christopher accuses Giles of treating Molly poorly.
The Sergeant decides to recreate where everyone was when the murder occurred, but with a twist. Sure enough, someone attempts to kill Molly this time.
But... Who Dun It? And Why? Of course, everyone is fine for the curtain call.
If you like theatre and haven't seen this play it needs to be on your list.
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