The name Agatha Christie attached to a production is draw enough and so it proves here in Hamilton. Playing to a packed house, what started as a 60th Anniversary celebration UK tour, has now extended into its fourth year, such is the pull of the world’s longest running play, The Mousetrap.
A seemingly disparate group gather in the midst of winter at remote country house hotel Monkswell Manor. Cut off by the snow, they soon discover a murderer in their midst. One by one their pasts are revealed and dark secrets are uncovered.
Despite their years, good old fashioned murder mysteries never fail to entertain and so it proves here. Played out on an atmospheric set which sits perfectly in this delightful period auditorium, these archetypal Christie characters from the golden age of crime fiction, play out their thoroughly entertaining dance of deception.
In playing characters that are a hairbreadth away from caricature, the actors have to walk a fine line between believability and parody and some it must be said are on a surer footing than others. Luke Jenkins’ Sgt. Trotter is the stand out in this ensemble cast, imbuing the character with a gravitas beyond his years. Less successful are Mousetrap veterans Anne Kavanagh (Mrs Boyle) and William Ilkley (Major Metcalf), who both veer a little to far into exaggeration; Kavanagh in action and Ilkley in accent. While Edward Elgood’s jittery young thing, Christopher Wren and Jonathan Sidgwick’s suspicious foreigner with something to hide, Mr Paravicini are teetering on the edge of comic, they at least have been written that way.
All in all though, it still has the power to thrill and proves that there is life in the old dog yet.