murder mystery graces Huntington stage
By Art Thomas
Published Oct. 22, 2008
of the titles we most associate with Agatha Christie is “The Mousetrap”
That is the current production on stage at Bay Village’s Huntington
A murder mystery, “The Mousetrap” puts a collection
of mostly eccentric guests together in an isolated setting where
the crime takes place. In the case of “The Mousetrap” that setting
is a bed and breakfast in rural England.
Mollie and Giles Ralston are the young couple in Monkswell
Manor, the estate that Mollie inherited. Undeterred by the memory
of a child abuse case in a nearby home, the affable couple set up
the first week of their Bed and Breakfast. Layla Schwartz and Michael
Goulis are the performers in these roles.
Among the guests is a complaining matron. Roberta
McLaughlin attacks this role of Mrs. Boyle with as much energy as
her character berates the poor service at the establishment. An
eccentric architect with the famous name of Christopher Wren is
there. Ray Caspio takes this role that wears flamboyant shirts and
scarves, and flirts with the guests.
There’s a retired military man, Major Metcalf, who
represents Old England. John Grad has the booming voice for the
role. Jodi Lynn Bloser has the suspicious role of Miss Casewell,
who seems well suited as a suspect. Greg Dziama is the “unexpected
guest,” the mysterious foreigner Mr. Paravicini.
A snowstorm isolates and traps the guests to the home.
Of course, the telephone will not work as well…someone cut the line.
Finally, Brett Miller is the police detective. Sgt.
Trotter uses a variety of tests to find the murderer.
While many of Agatha Christie’s stage plays have an
extended and tedious three act structure, “The Mousetrap” is an
engaging two act play. The first scene introduces the characters.
The second presents the murder. In fact, there was an earlier murder
in London and we of the audience suspect that the insane killer
is among the seven house guests. At intermission, the audience is
sent to discuss among themselves who the guilty party is. The play’s
second act has its share of tedious speculation, but moves faster
than most Christie plays.
There is a lot of humor in “The Mousetrap” The cast
do not take full advantage of the play’s points of heightened action.
A murder, the arrival of a detective of skiis outside a living room
window, and a burned apple pie are met with the same subdued “ah
ha” reaction by the cast.
Director John Hnat gives this production a brisk treatment.
The show has at least three surprise moments that should keep the
audience interested to the end. Tom Meyrose set has doors leading
to more locations than we can follow, and a spooky score is perfect
for this Halloween season.
“The Mousetrap” runs weekends at Huntington Playhouse
through Nov. 2.