Thursday, 18 September 2014

The Mousetrap

Theatre Royal, Glasgow
Three stars
Sixty-two years is a frightfully long time to keep a secret. Where
Agatha Christie's evergreen whodunnit is concerned, however, keeping
schtumm has transformed an inter-audience conspiracy into a global
institution which not even social media and the internet has betrayed.
With this in mind, there will be no spoiler alerts in what follows,
except to say that, in its depiction of how cruelly children can be
treated, this touring production that first flew its London coop two
years ago looks oddly current.

Set in a mansion turned guest house just opened by the increasingly
furtive Mollie and Giles Ralston, these refugees from the big city find
themselves fully booked with a house full of guests seeking shelter
from the storm, all of whom come clad in regulation dark overcoat,
muffler and face-concealing fedoras. A murder has been committed in
town, and, according to the game Sergeant Trotter, who skis into this
TripAdvisor nightmare in waiting, every one of this pot-pourri of
eccentrics, busybodies and mysterious men and women with pasts may be
involved.

It's far too flip to be the best of Christie's canon, and is somewhat
understandably all played rather archly in veteran Mousetrap director
Ian Watt-Smith's production (he also directed it in its thirty-eighth,
forty-first, fifty-eighth and fifty-ninth years). A set of energetic
performances expose the twisted nerves of each  character as it is made
explicit exactly how they came to be damaged in such a way. It is this
mix of pop psychology with a common touch which has kept generations of
Christie devotees complicit in the play's conceit for six decades. But
shh. It's far too late to give the game away now.

The Herald, September 17th 2014


ends

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