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The Mousetrap Theatrical Performance

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by Kat Parr Mackintosh (subscribe)
Young and coffee in varying degrees, Kat also says stuff @ThoroughlyMode
Published February 22nd 2011
Three headline facts about this WeekEnd Note:
1.) The Mousetrap has been running in London's West End for 59 years. Continuously. This makes it the world's longest running production.
2.) Agatha Christie wrote Mousetrap: it begun its existence as a short radio play in 1947.
3.) The original West End cast included Richard Attenborough and his wife but the play actually opened in Nottingham.
And here's a fact for free there's a twist to the ending that I can't speak about because the audience are asked not to. But this is a crime story. And a very good one too.

Without giving too much away, this is an old fashioned manor house murder mystery, but instead of being held in a manor house it's set in a manor house hotel... In a brutal snowstorm. A murder has taken place in London, a girl is dead, and the characters in the house first learn about it in the papers, but it turns out that the murderer is among them and one of their number is killed. Luckily Detective Sergeant Trotter (first played by Dickie Attenborough.) is already on hand hoping to protect them, so he can pick up the investigation right away...

As you might imagine there are all sorts of Mousetrap-specific-rules to keep the audience coming in and the show running. For example only one other production of the show is allowed to take place at any time, and no film will be made of The Mousetrap until six months after the show has closed in the West End. These are the rules Ms. Christie set out when she gave her play to the world via her nephew.

It's playing at the St. Martin's Theatre where it's been playing since March 1974. It opened next door in The New Ambassadors, but transferred without even missing a show, which is why it's still considered to be in its initial run. In fact it still has one surviving cast member from the original performance: though he's now sadly deceased, Deryck Guyler can still be heard giving a recording of the radio news at the beginning for the production. At one time the cast were able to remain in the play for as long as they pleased - David Raven gave 4575 performances - but they're now replaced once a year usually in November. So if you've seen it already they want you to go back and see it again with a different cast. 328 actors and actresses have appeared in The Mousetrap and there will, undoubtedly, be many more.
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Why? Because it's the longest running play in the world, maybe?
When: Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm with matinees at 3.00pm on Tuesday and 4.00pm on Saturday
Where: Cambridge Circus, Covent Garden WC2H 9NZ, United Kingdom, nearest station Covent Garden
Cost: From 16 (but less if you're smart about where you book.)
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