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Agatha Christie's 'The Mousetrap' Is Bringing Its Onstage Murder-Mystery to Melbourne and Brisbane

It's the world’s longest-running play, running for 70 years in London's West End — and it's touring Australia's east coast.
By Sarah Ward
August 17, 2022
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By Sarah Ward
August 17, 2022
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Calling all sleuths of Melbourne — and of Brisbane, too. If you haven't fulfilled your murder-mystery fix on the big and small screens over the past few years, then you'd best make a theatre date with the world's longest-running play.

Here are three questions for you to solve before you get there: what is it, who wrote it and when is it coming your way? The answers: The Mousetrap, the one and only Agatha Christie, and this November in Brisbane — and next February in Melbourne, after first hitting up Sydney from October.

Initially premiering in London's West End in 1952, The Mousetrap has been treading the boards in the UK ever since, only pausing during to pandemic venue closures. When theatres reopened in Britain, so did the show.

Indeed, when it makes its way to Sydney's Theatre Royal from October, The Mousetrap will do so 70 years to the month that it first debuted. Unsurprisingly, that hefty run means that the show has enjoyed the longest stint for any West End production, and for any play anywhere in the world. So far, there's been more than 28,500 London performances.

To answer the other obvious question, yes, it's a whodunnit. The murder-mystery starts with news of a killing in London — and with seven people snowed in at a guest house in the country. They're strangers, which is classic Christie. When a police sergeant arrives on skis, they're told that the murderer is among them (which, again, is vintage Christie). They all have wild pasts, too, and all those details are spilled as they're interrogated, and also try to work out who among them is the killer.

Those guests at Monkswell Manor include a pair of newlyweds who run the house, a spinster, an architect who is handy in the kitchen, a retired Army major, a man who says his car has overturned in a drift, and a jurist. Naturally, there's another death as they'e all puzzling it over — and a twist conclusion, which audiences have been requested not to reveal after leaving the theatre for seven decades now.

Again, it's all Christie all over, which'll be evident if you've seen the recent film versions of Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile — or the original cinema adaptations, or read the books, or devoured anything else that Christie ever wrote.

The Mousetrap originated as a short radio play, which was written as a birthday present for Queen Mary. It aired in 1947 under the name Three Blind Mice, after which Christie rewrote it as a short story, then adapted it again for the stage as The Mousetrap. And no, there isn't a movie of it — because Christie stipulated that it can't leap to the screen until at least six months after the West End production closes. Clearly, that hasn't happened yet.

In Australia, the play will hit the stage with Robyn Nevin directing and John Frost for Crossroads Live Australia producing. Cast-wise, Anna O'Byrne (My Fair Lady, Love Never Dies) will play Mollie Ralston, who owns Monkswell Manor, and Alex Rathgeber (Anything Goes, The Phantom of the Opera) will play Giles Ralston, Mollie's husband.

Also set to feature: Laurence Boxhall (As You Like It, Jumpy) as Christopher Wren, a young guest; Geraldine Turner (Present Laughter, Don's Party) as Mrs Boyle, a former magistrate; Adam Murphy (Shakespeare in Love, Aladdin), as retired British military officer Major Metcalf; and debutant Charlotte Friels as the aloof Miss Casewell. Gerry Connolly (Cyrano de Bergerac, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui) will pop up, too, as unexpected guest Mr Paravicini, and Tom Conroy (Jasper Jones, My Brilliant Career) will play Detective Sergeant Trotter.

THE MOUSETRAP AUSTRALIAN 2022–23 SEASON:

From Saturday, October 8, 2022 — Theatre Royal Sydney
From Thursday, November 3, 2022 — QPAC, Brisbane
From Friday, February 17, 2023 — Comedy Theatre, Melbourne

Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap will play Sydney's Theatre Royal from Saturday, October 8, 2022, then head to QPAC in Brisbane from Thursday, November 3, 2022 and to Melbourne's Comedy Theatre from Friday, February 17, 2023. Tickets for the Brisbane shows start pre-sales from Wednesday, August 24 and general sales from Friday, August 26, while tickets for Melbourne start pre-sales from Wednesday, September 7 and general sales from Friday, September 9. For further details, head to the play's website.

Top image: Matt Crockett.

Published on August 17, 2022 by Sarah Ward
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