Theatre NorthWest is gearing up for its first play of the season, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, which is one of the most famous murder mysteries to hit the stage.
“It’s one of the longest running plays in history, that I know of,” said director Johnna Wright.
The iconic murder mystery has been performed consistently from 1952 to the present, keeping audiences around the world on the edge of their seats.
“So, it's a very famous as a murder mystery […] and it's a cast of eight people,” explained Wright.
After a local woman is murdered, the staff and guests at Monkswell Manor find themselves snowed-in and soon becomes clear that the killer is among them. One by one, the suspicious characters reveal their sordid pasts.
“There's a group of people that have come to stay at a little guest home in the countryside in Britain and they become aware that there is a murderer that is stalking one of them, but they don't know which one,” said Wright.
She said the play's longevity is due to Christie’s technical ability to craft a great mystery.
“She really knows how to make a mystery that holds water, where as a person watching it or reading it, you're constantly thinking about it going ‘it's got to be that person. No, maybe it's this person! Oh my gosh, it's got to be this person!’”
Wright said that Christie weaves a mystery that is fun to try and take apart and one of the things she’s enjoyed as a director is figuring out how to convey that onstage.
“That kind of that logic puzzle is really fun to work on and the other part that I find really fun is just this kind of window into another era. It's 70 years ago, and it’s Britain right after World War II so there's all kinds of cultural differences and little things about the way they live that I find really interesting.”
The play also comes with a disclaimer that because it was written and is set in the 1950s it contains outdated stereotypes and language which modern audiences might find offensive or jarring. It also contains coarse language and occasional loud noises.
David Leach who is taking the stage for the first time with Theatre Northwest in the role of Mr. Paravicini recommends audiences come and see it more than once.
“This is something you might want to see a couple of times because if you come back a second time, you'll see things you didn't see the first time,” said Leach, adding that is something Wright has been working hard to achieve.
“She really wanted to see these little details that would a second or even third time viewer go ‘Oh, I see that! I didn't see that the first time!’ and it all makes sense.”
Tickets for The Mousetrap are available on Theatre Northwest’s website and the play runs from Sept. 14 to Oct. 15.