Theatre Calgary’s production of ‘The Mousetrap’ is a classic production.

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Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap is the world’s longest-running play. It’s a classic murder mystery, written by the best-selling novelist. It’s interesting that Theatre Calgary has launched its season with this mystery, directed by former Artistic Director Craig Hall of Vertigo Mystery Theatre. The play is a classic who dunnit, with a cast of talented artists and a grand set design, but it feels like there is nothing new about this production. If you’re looking for a classic production of an Agatha Christie story, Theatre Calgary’s The Mousetrap is for you.

The play opens with Mollie Ralston (Vanessa Leticia Jetté) who cleaning up her home with her husband Giles (Mike Tan). They have just opened up their home, Monkswell Manor as a guesthouse. As the couple puts the finishing touches on everything before their first guests arrive, the blizzard-like snow falls outside and the radio plays a voiceover about a murder in the area. Maureen Lyon has been murdered and the radio plays the details of the case. Guests start arriving, starting with Christopher Wren (Matthew Mooney) a nervous, rather odd young fellow who rubs Giles the wrong way. Then Mrs. Boyle (Natascha Girgis) walks in. She has a great talent for complaining and whining about everything, in contrast to Major Metcalf (Robert Klein) a pleasant, ex-military man. Miss Casewell (Kit Benz) is the last scheduled guest to arrive but Mr. Paravicini (Christian Goutsis) throws a wrench in the entire guest dynamic as a last-minute addition, arriving because his car got snowed in. The action starts to build when there is a call from the police, saying they are sending over a Sergeant to question the guests at the manor about the recent murder. Sergeant Trotter (Tyrell Crews) arrives on skis to interrogate the group. But things are not quite what they seem when everyone is telling their story and it all gets pretty complicated once one of the guests is murdered in the first act.

Girgis embodies her character as the surly Mrs. Boyle a fact that audiences have come to rely upon. Girgis has a reputation for throwing herself into her role and Mrs. Boyle is no different. It is so nice to see Goutsis back on stage, as it’s been a while since he has been working as an artist on Calgary stages. He adds much-needed comedy and quirkiness to the production. Benz plays into her dynamic with Girgis and we’re here for it. Jetté stands out as the somewhat frazzled host and Tan is steady as her partner.

Director Craig Hall ensures that every character is distinct and not easily confused. He plays up the misunderstanding and miscommunications between characters and between characters and the audience. Scott Reid’s set and video design give the sense of the grandeur of the manor and the large windows in the back of the stage with snow falling sets the scene. Deitra Kalyn’s talent in costume design shines in how everyone is dressed according to their characteristics. Mrs. Boyle is buttoned up, while Christopher Wrenn’s clothing is much looser. The murder mystery wouldn’t have the feel, without lighting design by Beth Kates and sound design and composition by Joelysa Pankanea, as these two elements come together to really create the mystery. Jane MacFarlane as voice and dialect coach ensures that everyone’s accents are believable.

If you’re looking for a steady production, a classic murder mystery with no surprises other than whodunnit, Theatre Calgary is the production for you.

Limited tickets remain for the run! Theatre Calgary’s production of The Mousetrap runs until October 8th. Tickets are available here.

Photo credit: Trudie Lee.

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