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The Mousetrap, The Mercury Theatre, Colchester

As one of Agatha Christie’s longest running and probably best known plays it is credit to the writer herself that after over 66 years it is still going strong, entertaining audiences around the UK.  This tour which is fully sold out for its Colchester performances does not disappoint and it’s understandable why.

The plot outline is an old house, converted to a Guest house by young newlywed couple, opens its doors to its first guests only to be cut off by a snow storm while it is revealed a likely murderer is one of the characters in the house.
The set gave us the ideal backdrop for this murder mystery, complete with falling snow, numerous doors and lots of intricate details.

In this touring production it is promoted as Starring Gwyneth Strong, who made her name as Cassandra in ‘Only Fools and Horses’ but I think it’s fair to say with this play there are no stars because this is not written as a star vehicle for one or two performers it is in fact the play itself which is the star.

That doesn’t mean that Gwyneth Strong doesn’t deliver a strong performance as Mrs Boyle because she does portraying the irritable and cantankerous house guest to perfection, complaining about everything – I am fairly certain I have met many ladies like her throughout the years.  Harriett Hare and Nick Biadon as the newlyweds Mollie and Giles Ralston gave great characterisations as their marriage unravelled with suspicion and nerves.
Major Metcalf played by John Griffiths gave an assured performance and David Alcock as Paravicini was mysterious with great flair in his delivery.  Geoff Arnold as Sgt Trotter was confident with good stage presence and Saskia Vaigncourt-Strallen as Miss Casewell was another solid performer.

But it was Lewis Chandler as Christopher Wren who was quirky, fun and in many ways almost stole the show with his detailed portrayal including his wonderful laugh and great mannerisms.

The whole cast worked well together giving a polished and well executed performance and if you get to see this at another venue I strongly recommend you do so and get tickets before it sells out there too!
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