Monday, November 17, 2014

The Mousetrap: "But What Stupendous Good Fortune!"

The Cast Members 2014
Agatha Christie Challenge:*

Kitschy? Definitely. Predictable? Without a doubt. Fun? Resoundingly, yes! That's how I would describe Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap, the longest running play of all time. It's been running in London's West End since November 25, 1952. Today, the play is a cultural institution. 

When I lived in London in the early 1980s, I had plenty of opportunities to see The Mousetrap, but I took things too seriously back then, and sneered at people who bothered with such claptrap. Theater had to be profound -- full of meaning. Forgive me, but I was young and cocky.

On this visit to London, I hadn't planned on seeing the play, but just by chance, I was walking by the St. Martin's Theatre a half hour before a matinee performance. On impulse, I popped in, and I had a wonderful time. There are plenty of cliches, clever dialogue, and suspects to keep you guessing until the end of this fun murder mystery. (I did guess the murderer fairly early on, but then I've read Agatha Christie books and seen basically every TV adaptation.)

I won't spoil the play by saying anything about its content. I'll just say that seeing a live performance of an Agatha Christie work was thrilling. 

*As part of my Agatha Christie Challenge to read all of her works in publication order, The Mousetrap is out of sequence. While visiting London I took the opportunity to see The Mousetrap. It was first performed as a radio broadcast in 1947 and then as a play in 1952. 

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