Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Sunday, 2 September 2012
The Mousetrap, Sept 1, 2012 ***
Agatha Christie Comedy
Theatre, Aug 30 to Oct 7, 2012
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on
Christie Sullivanas Mollie Ralston in the Mousetrap
The Mousetrap by Agatha
Christie is certainly a peculiar theatrical creature. It has run for 60 years
on the West End in London and is now touring countries all over the globe,
including this Australia touring production.
You’ve gotta love a
whodunit and a whodunit by Agatha Christie has to be the top of the pops for
The Mousetrap is arch,
silly and very old-fashioned (in the nicest possible way), with quirky
characters, plenty of clues, red herrings, without bloody violence.
The plot resembles that
of Ten Little Niggers and Murder On The Orient Express. Eight people are
isolated in a snowbound guesthouse in the countryside far from London when the
radio announces a murder in London and that police are looking for suspect
wearing a dark coat, light scarf and felt hat and most of the guests fit this
This production, directed
with humour and respect by Gary Young, is at its best when played straight,
without any sense of the actors commenting on the oddity of their characters or
parodying the period and the style.
Christy Sullivan is pert
and guileless as pretty Mollie Ralston, and as her husband, Giles, Gus Murray is
suitably clean, crisp and narrow-minded.
As usual in an Agatha
mystery, the guests are all suspiciously secretive or just plain weird. Travis
Cotton is entertainingly wacky as slightly demented, young Christopher Wren and
Linda Cropper is delightfully starchy and intolerant as former magistrate, Mrs.
Nicholas Hope’s Major
Metcalf is suspiciously reserved and Jacinta John’s Miss Casewell is
Justin Smith’s comic timing
and delivery are commendable as Sergeant Trotter and Robert Alexander is
playful and strangely non-specific in his accent as Italian traveller,
The Mousetrap is a
tradition and it would be mean-spirited and querulous to criticise a tradition.
To question its theatrical merit is pointless because audiences love it, they
keep returning and actors keep getting work on it. Long live the long-lived