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Review - The Mousetrap: simply not to be missed

By Liv Wilson

The Mousetrap

By Agatha Christie

Director Robyn Nevin AO

Lighting Trudy Dalgleish

Technical Director Frank Harlow

Costumes and Set Design Isabel Hudson

The Playhouse, QPAC

Until the 20th November. Bookings:

The cast of The Mousetrap, photo by Brian Geach

As news spreads of a murder in London, a group of seven strangers find themselves snowed in at a remote countryside guesthouse. When a police sergeant arrives, the guests discover – to their horror – that a killer is in their midst! One by one, the suspicious characters reveal their sordid pasts.

This genre-defining play is . Whether you’re attending to see the brilliant acting, to experience the tradition of secrecy or to solve the legendary murder you will find something to take hold of and enjoy.

There is something utterly magical about seeing the work of Agatha Christie being performed on stage by some of Australia’s most renowned actors. The rise of The Playhouse Theatre’s red curtain was the last moment of reality I experienced before being transported to the eerie Monkswell Manor for the evening.

The eight actors who graced the stage were all outstanding, each bringing their own quirks and suspense to the story. Leading the storyline was Anna O’Byrne as Mollie Ralston. O’Byrne was a star throughout the entire show, she was witty, poised and at times, deeply unsettled. She has a wonderful knack for realism and bringing truth to her scenes. The relationship between O’Byrne’s character and Laurence Boxhall’s, Christopher Wren was masterful. There were many unspoken moments of connection between the actors and an alliance that went beyond the scripted scenes. Boxhall was undeniably made for this character. His portrayal of the wacky and peculiar character was brilliant and the combination of his witty line delivery, flamboyant characterisation and unnerving backstory was a superb showcase of his talent.

Alex Rathgeber played Molly’s suspicious husband, Giles Ralson very well. His judgemental undertones were subtle and humorous when up against some of the more extroverted characters. Rathgeber was a great choice for the role as he captured the reserved nature of Giles particularly well.

Geraldine Turner as Mrs Boyle and Charlotte Friels as Miss Casewell were wonderfully cast. Both characters had strong personalities with highly uncompromising traits, a difficult pairing to pull off, but Turner and Friels wonderfully executed these qualities. Turner played Mrs Boyle with every bit of judgement and disapproval as I hoped she would and her overbearing qualities were brought to life wonderfully. Friels played Miss Casewell with exceptional poise. This character provides a great slate for Friels to show off her diverse acting range.

Adam Murphy as Major Metcalf couldn’t have been better! Murphy’s disciplined characterisation was perfect and the mysterious delivery of his dialogue made him quite the suspect… Similarly suspicious was Gerry Connolly as Mr Paravicini. Playing a larger than life character with a myriad of secrets, Connolly did a fantastic job at balancing the character’s dark humour and apparent enjoyment in the murderous game unfolding in Monkswell Manor.

It was a brilliantly layered performance by Tom Conroy as Detective Sergeant Trotter. Conroy perfectly captured the determination of his character’s quest to solve the mystery and rounded out the cast well. While tasked with playing a policeman stereotype, Conroy did a wonderful job of unsettling the other characters just enough to have the audience question every piece of the murderous puzzle.

This legendary play was directed by Robyn Nevin AO. With such a deliberate focus on preserving the character archetypes, Nevin has masterfully crafted a show filled with revenge and deceit that Agatha Christie would be proud of.

A standout element of this production was the set designed by Isabel Hudson. The Mousetrap is set in one location, the Great Hall of Monkswell Manor, therefore playing an important role in the overall story. Between Christie’s love of escapism literary conventions and Hudson’s set design, I was engrossed in the world created around me.


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