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Agatha Christie's 'The Mousetrap' Is Bringing Its Onstage Murder-Mystery to Australia

It's the world’s longest-running play, running for 70 years in London's West End — and it's heading to Sydney in October.
By Sarah Ward
June 24, 2022
By Sarah Ward
June 24, 2022

Consider yourself a budding sleuth? Here are three questions for you to solve. What's the world's longest-running play? Who wrote it? Where's it heading this year?

The answers: The Mousetrap, the one and only Agatha Christie, and Australia — Sydney to be exact. Initially premiering in London's West End in 1952, it's 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, with the exact premiere date yet to be revealed, 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 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. Whether it'll head to other cities as well hasn't yet been revealed — but cross your fingers.

Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap will play Sydney's Theatre Royal from October, with tickets on-sale from Monday, June 27. For further details or to sign up for the wait list, head to the play's website.

Top image: Matt Crockett.

Published on June 24, 2022 by Sarah Ward
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