See How They Run – all the London theatres in the West End murder mystery film
We point out some key locations!
See How They Run was released on streaming platforms this week, a love-letter to the best types of theatrical whodunnits and inspired by the world premiere of The Mousetrap (which, fittingly, celebrates its 75th anniversary this year).
Filmed during the lockdown-laden late 2020 and 2021 period, the film sees a variety of iconic theatres put to good use, as the murder mystery caper involves lackadaisical Inspector Stoppard (a fittingly named policeman, played by Sam Rockwell) and his trusty constable Stalker (played by Saoirse Ronan) rushing around the West End in search of a killer.
But while there are too many theatrical Easter eggs for one article (including obscure nods to lines and imagery from The Mousetrap), we thought we'd pick out some of the iconic film locations that you might recognise from your London theatre trips!
St Martin's Theatre
The central London venue is the current home of The Mousetrap, and has the iconic red neon marquee (below) with Agatha Christie's thriller's title on it.
What's funny, however, is that when it first opened The Mousetrap didn't run at St Martin's. Instead, it played next door at the Ambassadors Theatre, before hopping over the road in 1974. So they've had to rechristen the St Martin's for the purposes of historical accuracy!
Poor Ambassadors then – the venue is consigned to nothing more than a backdrop for a lot of the stage door action actually taking place outside the St Martin's. At least it gets a name drop!
The Old Vic
While both the Ambassadors and St Martin's Theatre have lovely, intimate auditoria (all the better for a tense thriller!), the film's producers decided to up the ante and use the venerable Old Vic in London for its on-stage scenes. The production team even built a pretty spot-on replica of The Mousetrap's set, going as far as to replicate some of the show's iconic moments and closing monologue.
A small one this – one scene involving Ruth Wilson's stage producer Petula Spencer is set inside the picturesque Hoxton-based location, a small gem of a venue that typifies London's long-standing music hall heritage.
Wilton's Music Hall
We've been trying to double check this one but we're almost certain one small scene in the film uses the iconic front-of-house/upstairs space at this much-loved east London venue. It's a fleeting visit, but a nice use of the ancient space.
Most West End theatres don't have the sort of swanky front-of-house space needed for a major motion picture, but the gigantic Dominion Theatre on Tottenham Court Road is an exception. The large venue, which is about to welcome Elf, stands in for the front-of-house of the "Ambassadors" in the film. For See How They Run's purposes, the action takes place in one theatre that is essentially three different locations stitched together!
While technically they don't use the Savoy Theatre, the iconic hotel (which was actually built after the auditorium in the late 1880s) plays a pivotal role in the film and the actions of its initial victim. So the film is still staying stagey!