Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called The Mousetrap. It was by Agatha Christie and it was directed by Sean Graney. It was about a group of people who all come to stay at a bed and breakfast in an old manor run by Mollie (Kate Fry) and her husband Giles (Allen Gilmore). Things turn for the worse when a murder investigation begins and the murderer is understood to be in the house. The only thing is, no one knows who it is...except for the murderer. It is about mistrust, fear, and social expectations. I think that this is an amazingly done, farcical mystery. It is very well performed and is absolutely hilarious, but it also has its moments of dread and heart.
I really loved the feeling of this show. Usually I like shows that feel natural and true to life, but I feel like this production had a compelling mix of a heightened situation with grounded relationships and emotion. This balance made me love the characters, but at the same time let the show be funny and over-the-top. I loved how all of the characters were so confrontational and big; everyone was trying to be the center of attention all the time. This also shows the high stakes for the characters: everyone wants something and they will do just about anything to get what they want. There was a guest named Christopher Wren (Alex Goodrich) who had grown to be one of Mollie's favorites because they share an interest in analyzing people. He has an immediate dislike for Mrs. Boyle (Carolyn Ann Hoerdemann) and every time he walks into the room, he has some comment for her. She is another exaggerated character; she is very judgmental about the amenities of the manor and continuously is talking about how much better other hotels are. Mollie and Christopher seem to have a real relationship where they care about each other, despite the fact that he is such an over-the-top person. They bond over their mutual dislike for Mrs. Boyle, and actually grow to have a friendship that feels real and grounded. In a show that is farcical like this one, especially when there are life-or-death situations, I feel it is important to have characters that have relationships that the audience cares about.
The comedy in this show was so dark and perfectly timed. I also loved how oblivious everyone was, it added to the hilarity when a character was missing something obvious or not realizing how ridiculous the situation was. At the beginning of the show, Giles comes home and his wife picks up his coat, scarf, and hat at the exact moments the voice on the radio is describing the garments of the murderer and they match exactly. Her timing was so amazing which is what made it hilarious. The universal suspiciousness of everyone's behavior was also very funny. Mr. Paravicini was not very helpful when it came to the fears of the other guests about their possible impending murders. He was going around the premises singing and playing three blind mice, which is the song that the murderer has chosen as their theme. During the interrogation, every character is doing something suspicious, but synchronous with everyone else being suspicious, so no one notices. The characters all also frantically and nervously unwrap candies, very noisily, until the detective has to take the candies away. I thought this was very funny because it was a callback to the announcement theaters usually make at the beginning of the show about not unwrapping candies during the show. Here, unwrapping candies is one of the most suspicious things the characters do in the show.
People who would like this show are people who like comedy paired with murder, unfiltered post-war weirdos, and suspicious candy wrappers. I think this is an absolutely hilarious and delightfully twisting show. I loved it.
Photos: Michael Brosilow