The West End’s legendary murder mystery drama The Mousetrap is the longest-running show, of any kind, in the world. Written by the best-selling novelist of all time (Death on the Nile, Miss Marple, Poirot) and the ‘Queen of Crime’, Dame Agatha Christie, The Mousetrap has kept audiences guessing for six decades.
In her own inimitable style, Dame Agatha Christie has created an atmosphere of shuddering suspense and a brilliantly intricate plot where murder lurks around every corner.
Newly opened guesthouse, Monkswell Manor, is snowed in and amongst the seemingly ordinary gathering of guests, a killer lurks.… Having already killed once, the murderer strikes again. The tension is razor sharp: everyone is a suspect; everyone a potential victim. One by one the characters reveal their pasts, and a complex web of deceit and suspicion emerges. But who will be next, and who is the killer?
Christie’s classic ‘whodunit’ opened in London’s West End in November 1952 and has since played over 27,500 performances. The Mousetrap is the longest running stage production in the world and after almost 66 years, continues to delight audiences to this day at London’s St. Martin’s Theatre. Originally written by Agatha Christie as a radio play titled Three Blind Mice and broadcast in 1947, Christie then adapted the radio play for a short story of the same name before again rewriting for the stage as The Mousetrap.
The Mousetrap has never been adapted for film. Christie did not expect the play to run for more than a few months and stipulated that no film of The Mousetrap be made until six months after the West End production closed. As the show is about to enter its 67th year and continues its historic London run a film adaptation looks unlikely.
During the play’s phenomenal run there have been no fewer than 474 actors and actresses appearing in the play – including Richard Attenborough and Sheila Sim in the original cast – as well as 279 understudies, 116 miles of shirts have been ironed, over 415 tons of ice cream sold, and an estimated 10 million people have been riveted by this gripping tale.
Award-winning director Alan Swerdlow says “The Mousetrap has remained popular for so long because it is so well constructed, with a terrific twist quite unlike Dame Agatha Christie’s other works. It was one of the first murder mysteries really to explore the psychology and motivations of the killer. And it is both thrilling and fun – the audience has a great time working out who the next victim is going to be and who the killer is. Dame Agatha keeps on surprising us!”
The play is set in 1952, when it was originally staged. “That is part of its charm,” says Mr Swerdlow. “The spirit of Britain in the early 1950s informs so much of the play – the attitudes, the speech patterns, the mores.”
THE MOUSETRAP is produced in New Zealand by Lunchbox Theatrical Productions in association with Pieter Toerien.