BWW Review: THE MOUSETRAP at Cultural Park Theater
Cultural Park Theater's production of THE MOUSETRAP, despite clear efforts from the cast and crew to put on a good show, felt a little off. It was almost as if they had placed actors in roles that may not have really fit them. Perhaps they had limited casting options, but the results were fairly awkward. A lot of the acting was stiff, yet at the same time, it felt like most of the actors were over-acting during many scenes, which resulted in a very unnatural feel. By the time the mystery of the show was revealed, I felt very disconnected from any of the plot.
One thing I really liked about Cultural Park is that they had microphones hanging from the ceiling, over the stage, so it was easy to hear the actors. I thought that was a really smart touch. I do also appreciate that Cultural Park Theater chose THE MOUSETRAP as one of their productions this season. It's a great story, and I have enjoyed seeing different versions of it at various theaters.
Something very small that bothered me quite a bit was that the actress who was playing the youngest character in the show, Mrs. Ralston, drew wrinkles on her face. I've really tried to understand why, but her character was supposed to be a young owner of an inn--the actor playing her husband didn't have wrinkles of any kind. I feel a little ridiculous about not being able to get past this small detail, but it completely took away from her performance for me. I'm sure audience members closer to the back of the theater may not have noticed this detail, but it was distracting and completely unnecessary regardless.
The story of THE MOUSETRAP involves secrets about the characters, which are revealed at the end, and in this particular production of the show, the secrets in the classic story were not very plausible because of the ages of the actors. Maybe the ages of the characters in the story could somehow justify my previous paragraph about the wrinkles, but to me, this aspect just added to the feeling that something was a bit off. Perhaps they could have altered the secrets in this production to fit the ages of the actors--it just doesn't seem possible that a very young woman would be a schoolteacher to the brother of someone much older than her. I completely understand that they are acting, but it just didn't seem to add up.
I am definitely interested in giving Cultural Park Theater another chance in the future, since they are so loved by many people. The staff was all very kind, and because the theater is on the smaller side, you have a great view no matter where you sit.
Despite the issues I may have had with this production of THE MOUSETRAP, I can appreciate that Cultural Park is allowing people interested in performance to pursue something I am sure they love to do. Not many local theaters are so community-based as Cultural Park, and I do have to commend them for that. It is also quite impressive that they have been putting on productions in our community for 55 years now. Even if this production was not the greatest, to me, they must be doing something quite right as a theater.