“ St Martin's Theatre, West Street, WC2H 9NH. Tel: +44 (0)20 7836 1443. Nearest tube: Leicester Square. „
As a huge fan of Agatha Christie books I was very excited to go and see The Mousetrap. This is the longest running show in the world that has been running since the 1950's and is still just as popular today. The Mousetrap is a classic Agatha Christie story, if you have enjoyed any of her TV productions or books then you will love this show. The show is based at a guesthouse, where all the guests become stranded due to weather conditions and a murder occurs in true Agatha Christie style. The seeming random guests all have pasts that of course become interrelated as the story emerges, each guest appears to have a motive for murder and it is wonderful fun trying to guess who is the murderer. The show has been running for over 50 years and the murderer is still a well kept secret, it is well worth the visit to try and figure out who it was. This show is simply wonderful, with a very simple set but fantastic acting and a great story. The theatre is still just as it would have been in the 1950's which provides a wonderful atmosphere and setting for the show. Even if you are not a great Agatha Christie fan I would highly recommend this production, it has everything a good show must have, it is highly entertaining and a wonderfully fun night out.
I had booked tickets to go and see the Agatha Christie play 'The Mousetrap' at St. Martin's theatre in London with my mum for her birthday as she has wanted to see the play for many years. Because of us living up in Manchester it was a case of having to stay the night in London to enable us to see the play. After all this effort I hoped it would be worth it!
The Mousetrap has been playing now in London for nearly 60 years and is the longest running play in the world. The show's first performance was on the 6th of October 1952 and it started off by being shown in the Theatre Royal in Nottingham and then toured various theatres across the UK before finally settling in the West End at the New Ambassadors theatre where it stayed until 23rd of March 1974. It was over this weekend the play was moved next door to St. Martin's theatre as it is slightly bigger and it is here it has stayed since. The play even actually made it into the Guinness book of records back in April 1958 for being the longest running play in British theatre back then! And now it is in its 56th year!
The play was written by Agatha Christie and as with all her novels it is a murder mystery with a final twist. The concept that has kept the play going for so long is that at the end the cast actually ask you to not give away the ending so that others who have not seen the play will be able to still enjoy it fully.
The play is set in one room throughout which may seem a little boring to some but it does work - interestingly the set was even replaced in 2000 for the first time since being in St. Martin's theatre without having to stop any performances. The room the whole play is done from is the lounge in a manor guest house. There is reference to other rooms but we do not see any set changes.
As you can imagine with such an old play the idea of the room is quite dated and is old fashioned but, it ties in well with the look and feel of the play. In fact there is only one piece apparently that is still there from the original set and that is the clock on the mantelpiece.
Obviously there is only so much I can say about the story itself as I don't want to spoil it! However if you are familiar with Agatha Christies work then you will more than likely have an idea what it is like or you may have even read about it! For those who have not read the book or are not familiar with her work then the basic plot is that there has been a murder and the police are sure there are more to follow. Will the detective sent in be able to find the murderer in time and stop any more deaths?
Bit of a difficult one here as there has been an amazing amount of cast members involved in the show and some have even received entries into the Guinness book of records for their performances such as David Raven as the 'Most Durable Actor' for 4575 performances as Major Metcalf or even Nancy Seabrooke for 15 years in an understudy role!
However the cast as it stands at this present time for the 2007-2008 period are as follows:
Giles Ralston - Simon Hepworth
Mollie Ralston - Vanessa Clarke
Christopher Wren - Edward Grace
Major Metcalf - Graeme Eaton
Mrs Boyle - Bronwen Williams
Miss Casewell - Rebecca Reaney
Mr Paravicini - Jim McManus
Sergeant Trotter - Richard Brightiff
The theatre has three sections and these are all priced differently. The seats are priced in order of position and view of the stage within the theatre. The three sections are:
The stalls are most expensive followed by the dress circle - we sat in the cheapest section (it was costing me enough to get to London and pay for a hotel too!) but to be honest there was nothing wrong with the view from here but, if you are scared of heights it may not be the best section to sit in as the upper circle is at the top of the building and quite high up!
The tickets start from around £17.50 per person but can go as high as £45. I did see some boxes in the theatre but could find no information on how much it would be to have a box or even if it s possible to hire them!
The play as we now know has had its fair share of actors and actresses but, one things that has become something of a tradition is that ever since the retirement of the stars that had been in the play the longest, Mysie Mont and David Raven, the original producer had the idea of changing the cast annually and so every year around November time the cast is changed and the retiring leading lady and the new leading lady cut a Mousetrap cake together.
Even though there is no actor or actress who is still playing a part from the shows beginning in 1952 there is a 'member' who is still a part of it and that is the voice that is played on the stereo which was recorded back before the play started and is the voice of the late Deryck Guyler .
In the original West End cast Richard Attenborough had a part as Sergeant Trotter and his wife, Sheila Sim even had a role as the leading lady Mollie Ralston!
As it stands at current day there has been over 23,000 performances! Wow!
I wasn't sure about the play if I'm honest!
Yes the play is good and the cast are great at their roles but it does seem a little dated which of course you'd probably expect as it is quite old! As far as I know the story has not been adapted in any way over the years so maybe this is what gives it that more 'old' feel.
However at the same time it is good -the story is well thought out and written and that's probably why it has been going for so long! People want to know the ending and so people keep going to see it - in fact a lot of visitors from other countries will come over to see this play and so it has gained international status!
My advice is this; don't expect as much as we did! Yes my mum liked it but after waiting over 30 years to go and see it I think she expected 'more' somehow and so was a little disappointed! If on the other hand you want to go and see a great play then by all means go along as it is definitely an entertaining evening and worth the money.
I am not one for following old English culture and going to things such as Theatres and Plays after all they are just for rich people to go and see are they not weel I was pleasently suprised by my first visit to a Theatre. I was sitting there trying to think of something to do on a Saturday night other than going down the pub or out to a club seeing as I had already drunk far to much at the Christmas do the other day. I trawled the internet for an hour or so and was convinced by a friend who was to join me that the Theatre would make a change well I laughed but went along with it and logged onto the evening standard website to see what was showing in London and finally we decided that MouseTrap Agatha Christies best ever kept secret play and a typical who did it?. MouseTrap is in it's 50th year of showing at St Martins Theatre near Leicester Square Underground Station so after booking our tickets at £26 each (yes a bit steep) online away we went to have a spot of dinner before going to collect our tickets from the box office. When we went into the theatre it was like stepping back in time to the 1920s with original decor and only what seemed like a few well carried out repairs. After wetting the whistle in the bar we took our seats and waited for the show to start and I must admit I was very apprehensive about it. When the curtain finally went up the scenery was brilliant and looked like a real room set in an old english manor house being used as a guest house which was being opened for the first time by a newly wed couple with more than a few secrets from each other. Now how do I describe the play without giving the plot away well the acting was brilliant especially the old Major who really lightens things up with some really witty humour. Well things start to go wrong when the guests arrive and what a weird bunch they are all with their own funny ways and none really liking the other then things take a
turn for the worst when a policeman comes to investigate a murder that occured in London the night before but why is he there out in a small country manor looking for the killer have they taken refuge or is something more sinister afoot. This play is fantastic and I bet you will never guess who dunnit especially as everyone in the play is a suspect and all seem to have good motive for the killing and when one of the residents is then killed the investigation and twists really begin. I was pleasently suprised by the quality of a play that is 50 years old and with the theatre in general but I do feel that they should be made cheaper to allow everyone the chance to see great plays such as this. Mousetrap is one of Agatha Christies plays never to be made film or book so that really adds to the intrigue of it and how you may ask do they keep whodunnit secret well a word in your ear of course. If you really want to wrap your head around a good investigation and have a good night out then go see Mousetrap and learn the best kept secret in showbusiness for yourself but remember mums the word.
This is a theatrical play that has been going for 48 years at the St. Martin Theatre in West Street London. The storyline is written by Agatha Christie and is a detective story following a couple who set up a guest house in the countryside. It is set in the winter with snow and wind adding to the tension. As soon as the play begins a murder is announced which sets the play up very well. Four people stay at the house as arranged but then another person comes along on the spot. They are all wearing a black jacket and brown scarf, which has been the description of the murderer. As the story continues, the police telephone and ask for permission to come around, which is granted. Due to the snow, the policeman comes around on a pair of skis. He believes that the murderer is in the house, as a note was found at the crime scene with this address. Each of the characters are individually interogated and the first half of the play is left at a climax, after the interrogation of each character. The second half begins with various clues being looked for, although with no luck. As it progresses, each character has a reason for being the murderer, but right at the end there is a twist which finally reveals the murderer to be........... that would be telling - go and see it to find out! The theatre however, is a bit of a downside as the seats are almost vertical to the stage, but although it is very high, the view is superb. The seats themselves are also a bit uncomfortable, with a lack of leg room making each seat very cramped. However, this is a problem that will be forgotten about once you are involved in the play, trying to work out who the murderer is... enjoy