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The Mousetrap (Tour - Liverpool)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Theatre as a landmark, literally and metaphorically; it was nearly impossible to get tickets for this show: guests gather at a hotel and end up snowed in, to discover that following a murder in London, one of them could be next, and maybe not just one…

The setting for plays can look a bit forlorn on the vast stage but this splendidly evoked the traditional countryside manor, all wood and chintz, roaring fire and stained glass window, plus a farcical number of doors.

Speaking of which, Christie was sometimes mocked for her board figures: Major Metcalf, in the drawing room. However, there was a degree of depth in these characters, given their stories, even if it seems like the stock roll call: pretty ingénue and stalwart husband; grumpy old lady; mysterious stranger/foreigner; bumbling detective; modern young lady and twee eccentric.

A sterling cast, many TV regulars, delivered, including an unsuspected amount of humour - a touch too much with Steven France’s Christopher Wren though often hysterically funny. Bob Saul as Sergeant Trotter calls on his inner Dr Who, without the screwdriver, while Karl Howman plays Mr Paravicini with considerable relish, as does Elizabeth Powe (bossy Mrs Boyle) and the striking Clatr Wilkie as Miss Casewell. Graham Seed (Major Metcalf) provides the voice of sanity with hospitality courtesy of sweet young things, newly-weds, Giles and Mollie Ralston (Bruno Langley & Joanna Walker). But they all have secrets, and would prefer to keep it that way.

Whopping coincidences abound but you have who’sgonnagetit, and whodunit (pretty obvious) plus twists to keep you guessing - the audience having been sworn to secrecy (and reviews should never reveal all anyway), you’ll have to go and find out for yourselves.

- Carole Baldock


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