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BWW Review: THE MOUSETRAP at McCarter Theatre Center

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Agatha Christie's classic who-done-it, THE MOUSETRAP, which opened March 11 at the McCarter Theatre Centre in Princeton, is splendid. It would be hard for anyone to create a better "mousetrap" than this performance directed by Adam Immerwahr.

The play, which has run continuously in London since 1952, includes the classic twist, double twist, and a triple twist that engages you throughout the production. The setting is a nascent English manor in the early 1950's, and a murderer is at large. Each of the six seemingly unconnected "odd and peculiar" characters that arrived separately on the guest house's opening night are suspected by one another. The residents are trapped inside by a snowstorm and, with the phone line cut, unable to communicate with the outside world.

There are touches of humor, including the fact that several of the characters possess a dark overcoat, light-colored scarf, and felt hat, which coincides with the description of the murder suspect's clothing, and a clever quip about how wonderful it is that the police have a clue. The cast members are quite convincing in their roles, from the highly critical Mrs. Boyle (Sandra Boyle) to the Italian traveler Mr. Paravicini (Thom Sesma), who rolled his lines with devilish delight.
The two-act, two-hour and thirty-minute production takes places in the manor's main room, and the set design and staging, particularly with respect to the snowstorm and day-to-night transition, were brilliant.
The production brings you right into the time period, and today's teen viewers will wonder how it's possible not to be able to find out anything about a person's background via Google or why adults rely on landlines. The ending brings older viewers back to the days when movies had a "The End" prominently displayed at their conclusion, as a cast member makes a similar announcement as the final line.
You should see this production at McCarter, even though the play will run for at least another sixty years.
Cast of characters (in order of speaking): Jessica Bedford (Mollie Ralston); Adam Greene (Giles Ralston); Andy Phelan (Christopher Wren); Sandra Shipley (Mrs. Boyle); Graeme Malcolm (Major Metcalf); Emily Young (Miss Casewell); Thom Sesma (Mr. Paravicini); Richard Gallagher (Det. Sgt. Trotter).

Director: Adam Immerwahr; Set design: Alexander Dodge; costume design Jess Goldstein; lighting design Philip Rosenberg; sound design: Kirk Kourtides; dialect coach: Gillian Lane-Plescia; casting director: Caparelliotis Casting; production stage manager: Cheryl Mintz; stage manager: Alison Cote.

Director of production: David York; artistic director: Emily Mann; managing director: Timothy J. Shields.
THE MOUSETRAP is playing at the McCarter Theater Centre, located at 91 University Place, Princeton, NJ, through March 27. Ticket information can be found at www.mccarter.org or by calling the Box Office at 609-258-2787.

Photo Credit: T. Charles Erickson


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