There are various statements made about the run length of Agatha Christie’s THE MOUSETRAP. This comedic mystery opened in London’s West End and has been running there ever since! It has by far the longest initial run of any play in history, with its 25,000th performance taking place on November 18, 2012 Yardley Players have chosen this wonderful classic to open their season, with performances at Mercer County Community College’s Kelsey Theatre from September 26th thru October 5th, 2014.
Under the direction of Mike Di Iorio, the company does an admirable job of entertaining the audience with this wonderfully conceived concoction of 1950s drawing room murder mystery. A creaky door…a scream…police sirens…and so the show opens. We are in the parlor of Monkswell Manor, an old country inn owned and run by Giles and Molly Ralston. The beautiful stage set is designed by Mike Almstedt; it features lovely details and gives the actors a great space in which to “play.” The few guests soon start arriving amidst a snowstorm that turns out to be worse than originally predicted; and, of course, the roads become impassable and the telephone goes out—and, before we know it, we have a dead body!
Everyone comes under suspicion, of course, and accusations fly. As events proceed, we realize that no one is what they seem, and that they all have secrets. Mr. and Mrs. Ralston are portrayed quite well by Christopher Neuman and Elizabeth Rzasa, respectively. Clearly, they know their characters—and they have nice English accents. Andre James Gordon is delightful as the eccentric and unfiltered Christopher Wren, a very troubled young man; as the marvelously pompous Mrs. Boyle, Marilyn Licciardello nails it. Major Metcalf, a by the book retired military man, is staunchly played by Kevin Hallam; Jessica Braynor as Miss Casewell (an aloof, masculine woman who speaks offhandedly about the horrific experiences of her childhood) adds a wonderfully nuanced he/she performance. Joseph Perignat plays Mr. Paravicini, a fellow of unknown origins who turns up claiming his car has overturned in a snowdrift. He appears to be affecting a foreign accent and has artificially aged himself with make-up. Perignat is just brilliant in his role, as is William Mercado as Detective Sergeant Trotter—who manages to get to the Manor in spite of the horrible weather. Really strong performances by both gentlemen.
The Yardley team provides solid technical support: lights, sound costuming and the aforementioned set. THE MOUSETRAP is a terrific start to their season….well I don’t want to give way more, but Agatha Christies writing is terrific; this play became the classic format for many murder mysteries to come…..Do go see it..You won’t be disappointed.
by Agatha Christie
Directed by Mike Di lorio
Sept. 26—Oct. 5, 2014
@ Kelsey Theatre
1200 Old Trenton Road
West Windsor, NJ 08550