Review: The Mousetrap, Pomegranate Theatre, Chesterfield

Derby Theatre - The Mousetrap bannerI been on this planet for 53 years and yet Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap has eluded me all this time  – that is until now.

I was finally lured into the theatre to see the production as the special 60th anniversary tour reached the Pomegranate at Chesterfield.

Predictably the venue was packed to the rafters and I was up in the circle but at least I was able to view the rest of the audience who had succumbed to the call of the play.

I wondered how many of those chattering excitedly below had already seen it and had forgotten whodunit – but one thing I knew was that if they could remember they would keep mum until the final scene.

Just before the curtain drops a member of the cast famously ask you to keep the ending a secret and everyone still loves to play along despite the onset of the internet and social media.

You might think you know who the killer is throughout but as the story twists and turns and the characters begin to reveal their true colours you might just start doubting yourself.

“I had a little wobble in the middle,” said the theatergoer sitting next to me. “But I had guessed it right,” she said with some pride as we left the building.

Others weren’t so accurate and were confessing that they had wrongly “thought it was him or maybe her” – and those even less likely to win a game of Cluedo admitted they had thought it was the one who ended up a corpse before the interval.

This is a murder mystery in the finest sense of the word.

Eight characters are brought together by circumstance and a snowstorm at Monkswell Manor Guest House.

The lovely hosts Mollie Ralston, played by Joanna Croll and her husband Giles, Henry Luxemburg, welcome the strange assortment of guests to their hotel – the loud practical joker and architect Christopher Wren Ryan Saunders; the grouchy old magistrate Mrs Boyle, Anne Kavanagh; the frosty and rather brusque Miss Casewell, Ellie Jacob and the mysterious Major Metcalf, Chris Gilling.

Arriving out of the blue and without a booking is the somewhat artificial foreign Mr Paravicini, Michael Fenner, and, making one of the most notorious stage entrances in theatre on a set of skis is Det Sgt Trotter played by Jonathan Woolf.

This production has a tremendous set befitting of a play that has graced the West End and is touring to celebrate its diamond birthday and there is no faulting the professional cast put together by director Ian Watt-Smith. Ryan Saunders was particularly good as the mustard-trouser-wearing, creepily bouncy Christopher Wren.

The play is a wonderful example of Britishness and if you go along in the right frame of mind ready to join in the event –because it really is more of an event than a night at the theatre – then you will have a fantastic time.

It is on at the Pomegranate Theatre in Chesterfield until March 1 but you will have to be quick to get a seat, as it is almost a sell-out. Go to http://www.chesterfieldtheatres.co.uk to book tickets.

If you miss it there it can be seen at Derby Theatre from April 21-26, go to http://www.derbytheatre.co.uk for more information.