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The Mousetrap UK Tour - Birmingham and Malvern

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by Alison Brinkworth (subscribe)
Freelance journalist in Birmingham with a passion for the dynamic theatre, art, food and fashion scene in Britain's 'Second City'.
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Must-see Agatha Christie crime caper returns
This Agatha Christie whodunit continues to be the longest running show in the world and returns to Birmingham this Autumn.

mousetrap, birmingham, tour, agatha christie
The Mousetrap has lavish sets


I caught the latest UK tour of The Mousetrap at Malvern's Festival Theatre ahead of its stop-off at The Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham from November 11 to 16.

The secret to its success is that it's a classic, well-produced show with all the ingredients of a good murder mystery. There's the quirky distinctive bunch of suspects, retired British major and cantankerous old biddy and creaking old English country manor house where they are all trapped amongst a killer.

It's not just the Queen of Crime's tell-tale plot points and red herrings that make The Mousetrap so appealing, there's also a glorious vintage charm about this show that starts when you enter the theatre.

Audiences are greeted with a rich red velvet curtain and clipped British tones of an announcer. When the curtain rises, there is a lavish stage set, which perfectly brings to life a wood-panelled country manor turned B&B in post-war Britain, where guests are arriving during a snowstorm that cuts them off from the rest of civilisation.

mousetrap, uk tour, birmingham, agatha christie
Many suspects and red herrings in The Mousetrap


Radio announcements reveal a gruesome murder in London and it soon becomes apparent that there is a connection to someone trapped in the house as the murderer strikes again.

There's red herrings and motives galore plus a hard-hitting story behind the killings, which made Christie's work so popular and cutting edge.

Starting life as a radio play in 1947 called Three Blind Mice before Christie transformed it into a theatre production in 1952, there's a lovely nod to the radio throughout the performance along with sinister renditions of the nursery rhyme Three Blind Mice.

The whole production is super slick and there isn't a word, movement or look out of time from the excellent cast, including well-known actress Susan Penhaligon (Emmerdale, A Bouquet Of Barbed Wire).

There's some lovely choreography too when it comes to synchronising radio announcements on the coat, scarf and hat that the murderer was wearing and arrivals at the manor, which prompt many a chuckle from the audience. As does actor Lewis Chandler, who has the most comedic role of zany young man Christopher Wren and plays the part with real zest.

Mousetrap, Lewis Chandler, UK Tour, 2019, Birmingham
Lewis Chandler has fun with his role as Christopher Wren


Ultimately, it's the polished performance that keeps people coming back for more.

When it comes to the success of The Mousetrap, it's not hard to solve as it is a case of if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

The unchanged continuity and high quality performance and production of this historic show is what makes it such a must-see at least once in your life for any crime fan.

RATING:

The Mousetrap tour is at Malvern Theatres until July 20 and then returns to the Midlands to Birmingham's Alexandra Theatre from November 11 to 16.
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Why? See why the world's longest running play is so good
When: Touring to Midlands until 16 November 2019
Phone: 0844 871 3011
Where: Malvern Theatres in Grange Road, Malvern, and Alexandra Theatre, Suffolk Queensway, Birmingham, West Midlands, B5 4DS
Cost: From 13
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