Christie Classic Christens Holiday Happenings in Chestnut Hill

by Ginger Agnew

The longest running show in world theater history, boasting over 60 years of continuous play on the London stage and celebrating 25,0000 performances on November 18th 2012, makes a holiday home at The Stagecrafters Theater in Philadelphia. Tricks and twists and turns add to secrets, suspicion and surprise. THE MOUSETRAP takes audiences on a journey of remarkable characters, humor, suspense, and murder.

The newly married Ralston couple, Mollie (Marisa Brown) and Giles (Russ Tisinger) have opened a guest house, and are awaiting their first boarders. They appear to be keeping secrets even as the curtain opens. As each guest arrives, Christopher Wren (Matthew Thompson), Mrs. Boyle (Linda Palmarozza), Major Metcalf (Elliott Rotman), Miss Casewell (Janet Wasser), Mr. Paravicini (Richard Geller), he or she exhibits character traits that are quirky, strange, eccentric, and finally suspicious. Detective Sergeant Trotter (Jesse Lehman) skis in during the blizzard to keep newly arrived residents and proprietors safe. There are questions, while each begins to suspect the other. Bodies pile up, danger increases. A classic whodunit is in action.

Marisa Brown, Jesse Lehman in THE MOUSETRAP.  (Photo Credit: Sara Stewart)

Marisa Brown, Jesse Lehman in THE MOUSETRAP.
(Photo Credit: Sara Stewart)

The able acting ensemble creates memorable characters with Brown in the lead. She is energetic, charming, and attractive, as noted in the script. Brown carries the largest portion of the script and yet her character is frequently dashing away to the kitchen to prepare vegetables, leaving questions trailing behind. Tisinger creates the eager newlywed husband with clarity and a hint of mystery, marked by a short courtship and one year of marriage. Thompson brings humor and oddity to life with Wren. Palmarozza’s Lansbury-like vocal timbre makes charming, and a bit endearing, her hostility towards all. Rotman, Wasser and Geller fill out the group of characters full of idiosyncrasy and foreboding. At last, Lehman brings the reassuring, questioning and note-taking deportment of the law into the disquiet of the day. Stories unfold, and secrets are revealed.

The set design and decoration along with the costume scheme are starring elements of this production. Giving the actors a first class set, including old-world European style furnishings and decoration, makes the production a beauty to see. The careful construction of doorways, wood trims, beautifully painted interiors with flowery wallpaper borders, completed by a warming fireplace make for a cozy spot to unravel crime. The furnishings are just the cushiony, overstuffed things to complete the look and make a homey spot for actors. Costume colors are coordinated among characters and all have the woolly look of English countryside comfort with style.

Whodunit? For that tidbit, hurry and get a ticket for THE MOUSETRAP at Stagecrafters in Chestnut Hill.

by Agatha Christie
Directed by Loretta Lucy Miller
November 29 – December 15, 2013
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM
Sundays at 2 PM
The Stagecrafters
8130 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19118

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