Review by Michelle Sutton
John Frost for Crossroads Live Australia presents The Mousetrap at Riverside Theatres, celebrating the 70th anniversary of the play. This production of “the world’s longest-running play”. Boasts acclaimed Australian actor, producer and director Robyn Nevin as its director and Chris Parker as associate director. The Mousetrap written by Agatha Christie debuted in London in 1952 and has been running ever since, thrilling and charming audiences with its compelling characters and mesmerising mystery.
The set is beautifully and thoughtfully designed and constructed, with a delightful assortment of early 1950s furniture and decor. The placement of lights and doors, so integral to the whodunnit to keep mystery alive, is perfect with never-ending possibilities of who is coming and going in the house and from where. There are wonderful additions of the fireplace roaring and the snow falling outside, visible through the living room window which add to the sense of being trapped and isolated as the characters are in the snowstorm in the countryside. The set and costume design work together to create the illusion of the 1950s and to give us subtle clues as to the history and secrets of every character.
The ensemble cast boasts the cream of the crop of actors, with all of them showing an exuberance and passion for the play as well as masterful technique and incredible comedic timing. Anna O’Byrne plays Mollie Ralston and Alex Rathgeber plays her husband Giles. O’Byrne grounds the story in a great amount of earnestness, tenderness and strength. Tom Conroy is magnetic as Sergeant Trotter, his performance is commanding from the moment he sets foot on stage. Laurence Boxhall appears to be having the most fun of anyone in the room at all times as the eccentric and playful Christopher Wren. He delivers an electrifying performance, especially in scenes across from O’Byrne that reveal pain and vulnerabilities. Katherine Pearson plays the enigmatic Miss Casewell with presence and charisma and Adam Murphy plays Major Metcalf with a gentle stoicism. Mr Paravicini is played by Gerry Connolly who dances around the stage as the mysterious French traveller who nobody can quite work out. His performance is masterful and a delight to behold, sprinkling brightness and levity through the mystery. Geraldine Turner gives a masterclass as the unpleasant stickler for manners and decorum, Mrs Boyle. There are no weak players in this cast, everybody shines and pulls their weight in keeping the suspense and momentum of the play alive throughout the runtime of the show. All of the accents and dialects of the different characters are flawless, and thus extremely effective in revealing to the audience the different class, stature and complicated relationships and motivations of the characters.
This production of The Mousetrap is perfectly polished, entertaining and joyful. The superb direction of Robyn Nevin allows Agatha Christie’s exquisitely written murder-mystery to soar. The Mousetrap at Riverside Theatre glows with warmth and pride, and is as good a quality a production as you could hope to see anywhere in the world.