Which play is the longest running?
This question is pretty easy to answer. It is hard not to have heard of Agatha Christie and The Mousetrap. I saw this play now the 2nd time as part of the challenge, but I have to say it was still exciting. There is something festive about each performance and the board at the entrance that marks the number of each performance makes sure everybody feels it. The pictures at the foyer from The Mousetrap’s golden jubilees makes you realise you are part of something special.
St. Martin’s Theatre was designed as one of a pair of theatres with the Ambassadors Theatre, but unlike the Ambassadors it only opened in 1916 due to the outbreak of the World War I. St. Martin’s is quite an intimate venue and thus has hosted mostly plays. Since 1974 it has been home for Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, now on its 66th year of successive run. The theatre is owned by Lord Willoughby de Broke and the theatrical producer, Stephen Waley-Cohen.
The play is set in Monkswell Manor, recently converted guesthouse run by a young couple, about to welcome their first guests. Mollie, the mistress of the house hears on the radio that the police are looking for a man in a dark overcoat, suspected in the murder that happened in London the night before. Monkswell Manor guests are all very peculiar characters: Christopher Wren, a man in his early 20s, claims to study architecture; Mrs. Boyle, a woman in her early 60s, complains about everything; Major Metcalf, a man in his mid 50s, seems very observant; Miss Casewell, a mannish young woman in her early 20s, talks very little; and Mr Paravicini, a man in his early 60s, turns up unexpected, without prior reservation. The blizzard hits Monkswell Manor and the roads to the guesthouse are blocked. The only way of communication with the outside world is the phone. The telephone rings and Mollie finds out from Superintendent Hogben of the Berkshire police on the other end of the line that the police is sending Sergeant Trotter to the guesthouse to investigate the murder case from 2 nights before in London. Superintendent Hogben tries to deliver more details when the line is cut. Soon after the call, a young man appears at the Monskwell Manor door on his skies and identifies himself as Sergeant Trotter. Sergeant Trotter explains that they have a suspect for the murder. The suspect is elder brother of 3 siblings that were abused by their foster parents causing the death of the youngest child some years ago. The lady killed in London 2 nights before was the foster mother of these 3 children, so the elder brother took a revenge on her. They found a notebook at the murder scene that had the address of Monskwell Manor and the words “Three Blind Mice”. A note reading “This is the First” was pinned to the woman’s body. Police sent Sergeant Trotter on the suspicion that next victim out of the “Three Blind Mice” might be at Monkswell Manor, but all the guests and the hosts deny connection to the case of the three siblings. Everyone is scattered around the house when Mrs. Boyle is killed in the dark living room by somebody the audience is not able to see. Mrs. Boyle admitted earlier to Major Metcalf that she was one of the magistrates who had assigned the children to the foster parents. As the second mice of the “Three Blind Mice” is dead, Sergeant Trotter puts more pressure on the residents of Monkswell Manor to reveal the truth about themselves as the third mice might be among them and in great danger. Trotter tries to recreate Mrs. Boyle’s murder scene as part of his investigation and as he does so, we find out who the murder is, but The Mousetrap cast asked the audience not to relieve the murderer, so I will do as asked and keep the identity of the murder a secret.
The Mousetrap was written under the original name of Three Blind Mice by Agatha Christie and saw its premiere at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham on 6 October 1952 and was transferred to the Ambassadors Theatre in November the same year. It ran at this theatre until 1974 when it transferred to the larger St Martin’s Theatre, next door. The Mousetrap celebrates 66th year of run in 2018.
Director: Hugh Ross
Producers: Sir Peter Saunders, Sir Stephen Waley-Cohen, Adam Spiegel
Casting: Denise Silvey
St. Martin’s Theatre, West Street, London, WC2H 9NZ
Bought my ticket from St. Martin’s Theatre official website. £30 for a middle row seat in the dress circle with a very good view. The theatre is quite small, so I think all seats are fairly good seats.
Running time is 2 hours 20 minutes.
The Theatre Rat