Review: ‘Mousetrap’ Is A Hoot Of A Whodunit At Chatham Drama Guild
A scream pierces the Chatham Drama Guild to the tune of “Three Blind Mice.” A woman has been found murdered near the Great Hall at Monkswell Manor. A man wearing a dark overcoat, white scarf and felt hat was seen leaving. A blizzard is raging outside the large picture window center stage. Mollie Ralston, so pleasant, so efficient at running a British guest house, checks the heat, closes the curtains, lights on, checks the names of the registered guests. Her husband Giles warms his hands by the fireplace. It won’t be long before a detective from Scotland Yard arrives searching for the man seen leaving the murder scene.
As each guest arrives, Agatha Christie’s murder mystery keeps the audience intrigued. Whodunit? Who will be next?
Directed by Scott Hamilton, “The Mousetrap” completes a three-year sojourn of Agatha Christie productions at the CDG. As fall days shorten and darkness looms in the air, this intriguing murder mystery that holds a Guinness World Record of a 70-year continuous run in London, is not to be missed. Richard Attenborough and his wife Sheila Sim starred in the original 1952 production. “The Mousetrap” has been seen by over 10 million people including Queen Elizabeth in 2002. And now here in Chatham, “the Mousetrap” is a must-see.
Erica Morris, a graduate of the theater and dance program at Drew University, plays Mollie Ralston, the young red-haired, always smiling proprietor of Monkswell Manor guest house. John O’Hara in perfect British accent is her supportive husband Giles. Married just a year, after knowing one another for three weeks, they happily welcome each guest.
Enter the busy-body, mischievous, filled-with-surprises Christopher Wren played by John Hanright, who pops in and out of every scene. Lee LaCroix becomes Mrs. Boyle, the cranky questioning older lady whose train was not met. James Batzer marches in as Major Metcalf, whose phone has gone dead as “the lines have gone down with the weight of the snow.” Violet Moos is well-dressed Miss Casewell. Tall and charming, she floats across the stage with a touch of elegance. Richard Wilber enters in a fur coat as Mr. Paravincini, who has lost his Rolls Royce in the snow. Meeting the guests, he questions Mollie, “What do you know of the people sleeping here?”
Bragan Thomas stars as Detective Sergeant Trotter, arriving the next day on skis with news of a woman’s body found murdered nearby with a note stating “This is just the first!” As the tune of “Three Blind Mice” is played later in the evening, another guest is found dead. Detective Trotter announces “In a murder case, everyone is under suspicion. I am now in charge!” Bragan Thomas’ performance is over the top!
Monkswell Manor’s Great Hall set design by Scott Hamilton with Pam Banas and Mike Guzowski is exceptional as is this production.
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