Murder In The Air! But just "Whodunnit?"

The Mousetrap

Theatre Severn

Monday 9 May-Saturday 14 May

 

If you think that by reading this article you may learn the solution of the sixty year old mystery of exactly who is the Mousetrap killer? Not a bit of it. It is a theatrical secret that, rather like whistling in the dressing room or saying Macbeth in a theatre, it just isn’t done! The only way you will find out whodunit is by getting down to Theatre Severn this week and solve it for yourself. It is worth it!

So rather than waste any more time on the narrative, this review will focus on the other elements that makes this show one for your diary. Mind you, a show than can pack a theatre on a Monday night is clearly one that will be talked about for some time. This is a superb performance.

If you are an Agatha Christie fan this is the show for you. If you’re not an Agatha Christie Fan this is the show for you. If you ever wondered who done it, you guessed it, this is the show for you.

One is struck immediately by just how lavish the set is. Theatre Severn is lucky in so much as the stage has the depth and width to accommodate these wonderful sets. A lot of work has gone into the designing and that happily engenders a feeling of prying into the reception room of the Monkswell guest house. The attention to detail is remarkable and it is impressive to see.

This isn’t a show that can be packed in a van and gone. No this is a big show and probably a logistical nightmare but it is one that Sir Stephen Waley-Cohen and Adam Spiegel were more than capable of delivering.

One area that deserves attention is style. How was the show presented and what styles were employed in delivering such a slick and dazzling performance?

 This is true Stanislavskian theatre. Attention to the minutiae, total immersion in character and the strict adherence to the laws of the fourth wall. This is very much a play that invites the audience in to spy on someone else’s tragedy: But very much on its terms.

There are no hilarious asides, character is maintained at all times, there is no other relationship between the show and the audience other than the one of inviting them to pry a little and come up with an answer,  and that is spot on.

Director Ian Watt-Smith has delivered a delightful production by crucially observing the conventions of this style of theatre.

This is a show that has been running for sixty years; it is one of our national treasures. Just like Wilde and Shaw, Christie is up there with them. These are shows that aren’t open to too much freestyle interpretation as far as directing is concerned, this, it could be argued, turns Christie into a genre; and not just a playwright. But it is all the better for that as Christie wants your mind to follow a certain path, this production achieves that in spades.

Costumes are colourful and reflective. The young Brash and relatively insecure Christopher Wren, beautifully played by Oliver Gully, sports a loud pair of yellow trousers and a very mis-matching jumper. Mrs Boyle (Louise Jameson) sports a severe tweed two piece. Just perfect for the time and perfect for further adding evidence to the argument that Christie is a genre.

This is a great play and is amongst the highlights of the year thus far. If you want to know why it has run for sixty years, this is play that even though the mis-en-scene represents an older quainter England; that is long gone,  is as fresh and as relevant today as it ever was.

Beautifully played, set, directed and delivered. As they took their curtain call tonight the cheers that rang out were so well deserved. This is a go see!

This is a five star review

Owen J. Lewis

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

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