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Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap

Initially premiering in London's West End in 1952, the world's longest-running play is coming to Melbourne.
By Sarah Ward
February 07, 2023
By Sarah Ward
February 07, 2023

Calling all sleuths of Melbourne. 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 from Friday, February 17–Friday, March 24 at the Comedy Theatre.

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. That means that when made its way to Australia last October, kicking off in Sydney first, The Mousetrap did so 70 years to the month that it first debuted. Unsurprisingly, it 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.

Images: Brian Gleach.

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