Theater Review: “The Moustrap” at the Spotlighters Theater
There’s nothing quite like a cozy Agatha Christie murder mystery, and Spotlighters Theater has a classic with its current production of “The Mousetrap.” It is, in fact, the longest running play in London’s West End history. The year is 1957 and a young couple, Mollie (Margaret Masucci) and Giles (Dagan Brown), who have been married for just a year, have inherited Monkswell Manor and turned the large country house into a guesthouse. They are expecting their very first guests and on the radio is a report (Phil Gallagher as radio announcer) of a murder in London of a Maureen Lyon. Soon all the interesting characters you expect from a Christie story will arrive. One is the murderer and the others are likely to be the next victim. Everything is complicated by an upcoming blizzard that will cut them off from civilization for a day or two.
…a great mystery with a surprising ending…
First to arrive is the excitable, young, and slightly neglected Christopher Wren (Mark Wallace). Dropped off by a cab (together but not a couple), Mrs. Boyle (Terri Paurino) and the amiable Major Metcalf (Darren McGregor) are utterly unsympathetic and constantly complain. Then Miss Casewell (Katilin Ruby) arrives. It seems that she is a very independent young woman and dresses like a man (remember this is unusual for a woman in the 1950s). The final guest is the impeccably dressed and eccentric stranger, Mr. Paravicini (Glen Charlow), who claims his car overturned in a snowdrift.
The guests don’t seem to get along and are agitated when Mollie receives a phone call from the local police saying they are sending Detective Sergeant. Trotter (Andy Belt) at the Manor. He arrives on skis and warns them of their imminent danger and possible connection to the London murder. He tries to get information from everyone but it seems they all have something to hide. It would be unfair to say too much because the pleasure lies in the twists and the attempt to understand the thriller. Suffice it to say, there’s another murder and a surprise ending.
The entire cast does a solid job, but Belt as Trotter gives a wonderful performance – and not just for the amount of lines he learned for the role which was considerable. Another standout (and hard to believe his first role since college) is Brown as Giles. It is very natural and believable. Charlow and Paurino are funny.
Director Paul Saar (also a props designer) moves the actors well, using every corner of the intimate theater in the round. Kudos to the creative team which includes set designer/builder/painter Alan S. Zemla for capturing the feel and look of a 1950s country home. Costume designers Margaret Massuci and Catherine Hilgartner are knowledgeable about the costumes of the time. If you’re in the mood for a big mystery with a surprise ending, head to Spotlighters.
Duration: Approximately 2h15 with a 15 minute intermission.
“The Mousetrap” runs through May 1, 2022 at the Spotlighters Theater, 817 St Paul St, Baltimore, MD 21202. For more information and tickets, please click here. Masks and proof of vaccination required.