BWW Review: Watch It Ensnare Us All with THE MOUSETRAP at Cape Playhouse
I know it's been said that theater has a way of taking its audiences to places unknown, whisking people away from life at the moment by means of fascinating characters and plots which bring about all sorts of predicaments.
Never, though, have I seen this idea taken so far down a more truthful path than with the power of an enthralling staged murder-mystery; for those of you who wish to fell the rush brought about as a truly wonderful production of this kind aught, I have just the one in mind.
The Cape Playhouse recently began its limited run of Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap, and I really have to be completely informal from this early moment and say that this production is just plain awesome; better to leave the drama and long-windedness for those characters who try to figure out what, exactly, is happening at Monkswell Manor on a few long, cold winter nights.
With a small yet stellar cast directed by Pamela Hunt and finishing The Playhouse's 90th season as its final full length production of the summer, there is so much to love about this production of Christie's classic The Mousetrap. Honestly, if you don't enjoy it, you really aren't following the story close enough. From enigmatic characters, all whom are just about self-incriminatingly suspicious from the very start, to a plot that you will try your utmost to decipher while the facts are laid out bare before you, Hunt and her cast have truthfully really created quite the masterpiece with this production. And this is not to be said simply because of the inherent genius Christie applied to this work when writing The Mousetrap - not just how brilliant the plot is or how carefully she maneuvered character around character to the point that you might have an inkling of an idea who is killing the guests of this newly opened manor.
It is the fact that I was utterly captivated by everything that happened on that stage, and I honestly can't be more straightforward in saying that. It is one feeling (and believe me there were many, from suspense to anticipation and the like) that I not only felt while watching the plot unfold, but also one I can explain with perfect clarity after the matter: that feeling of wonder. I feel like so perfect a product couldn't have happened the way it does now so perfectly in real life as it does on stage at The Playhouse; not to add more drama to a production already saturated with it, but watching these actors bring this plot to life so flawlessly really reinstates one's faith in theater, and what a truly wonderful performance such as this can make you feel. "Inspired" I believe is the word.
The Mousetrap takes place in London in 1952, where a rather young Mr. and Mrs. Ralston turn the home left to them by Molly's grandmother into a newly opened guest house, full of promise with a waiting list of people who want to stay. Molly's naiveté in pursuing her once promising idea begins to show when the guests begins to arrive at Monkswell Manor, diligently making their way through horrendous weather conditions. She not only discovers that she is not ready to run such an establishment, but also that the Manor will host the two remaining murders, the killer who associates his nasty deeds with the popular yet incredibly eerie nursery rhyme, "Three Blind Mice" - hence the ingenious name of Christie's work. With a handful of mysterious guests, an unexpected foreign traveler and a sergeant who came by the intriguing way of skis, there is nothing stopping this cast from making an absolute "killing" of this production.
There is as much a pun intended there if ever there needed to be one.
As was mentioned, the actors involved in this production of The Mousetrap really give you little reason to not believe anything and everything happening on that stage: from the imminent and incredibly well done death of the murderer's second victim, when the lights are dimmed and the nursery rhyme floats in the background right before the curtain is drawn, to just how damn comfortable each actor is portraying true, believable and downright wonderful characters, this show really captivates the audience by the sheer reality of it all.
Michael Halling and Samantha Hill as Mr. and Mrs. Ralston, Jay Ben Markson as Christopher Wren, Darrie Lawrence as Mrs. Boyle, Bill Nolte as Major Metcalf, Alice Sherman as Miss Casewell, Scott Schafer as Mr. Paravinci and Matt Harrington as Sergeant Trotter really give quite the performance. Just because actors are professionals does not mean that their performance and the plot which they perform will come together to create something compatible to everyone's liking; in this case, there is no wrong with making The Mousetrap a everyone should go and see before the final curtain is drawn on not one, but all of these characters, for good.
Credit must also be given to Mary Jo Dondlinger as Lighting Designer, Meganne George as Costume Designer, James Morgan as Scenic Designer (especially with the darkening window and the snow lightly falling - absolutely beautiful and rather unexpected set design indeed) and Jeff Sherwood as Sound Designer.
The Mousetrap at the Cape Playhouse (located at 820 Main Street in Dennis Village) began performances on August 23rd and will continue thru September 3rd. Tickets range from $19-$79 and may be purchased in person at the box office, by calling (508) 385.3911 or by visiting www.capeplayhouse.com. The performance schedule for the remaining dates is as follows: Monday thru Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., Thursday thru Saturday at 8:00 p.m., with additional 2:00 p.m. matinee performances on Wednesday and Thursday. Please support The Playhouse as it presents its final show of the summer, and enjoy!
Photo Credit: Mimi de Quesada