Review: MOUSETRAP at Driftwood Theater

Mousetrap runs through October 2nd.

By: Sep. 17, 2022
Review: MOUSETRAP at Driftwood Theater
Review: MOUSETRAP at Driftwood Theater
Topher Wick, Ingrid Sanai Buron, Joe Goins,
and Oliver Rowland-Jones appear in
MOUSETRAP by Drifrtwood Players.
Photo by Dale Sutton

A secluded inn full of guests, a massive snow storm, and a murderer on the loose combine into a delicious murder mystery, masterfully written by Agatha Christie, and delightfully produced by the Driftwood Players. Secrets abound and people are not who they appear to be. Untangling the threads of this mystery has entranced audiences for decades and continues to do so at this little theater in Edmonds.

Monkswell Manor has just opened for business, and new proprietors, Mollie and Giles Ralston are anxiously awaiting their first guests when the radio announces a murder in London. The houseguests include a young architect, a magistrate, a retired major, a young woman traveling on business, and a foreigner stranded in the snow. Sergeant Trotter is dispatched to investigate and reveals that not one, but two other murders are feared to be in the works due to a perceived connection with an old case at nearby farm. Tensions mount as each person attempts to keep their own secrets while growing suspicious of the others. When one guest is found murdered, they know the murderer must be amoung them. Who is the target and who is the murderer are questions that have captivated audiences for many years.

The Driftwood team, helmed by director Adam Othman, has assembled a cast perfectly suited for this show. With over half the cast making their Driftwood debuts, the group has a freshness about it that is exciting. While the characters of the show are often caricatures and stereotypes, the cast uses this to their advantage and produces a lot of laughs. Ingrid Sanai Buron is stuffy and difficult and has a glare of disapproval that makes you shrink in your seat. Joe Goins as Major Metcalf is stately and matter-of-fact, yet has a touch of something hidden that just keeps you guessing. Mr. Paravacini played by Topher Wick is a complete man of mystery that loves to stir the pot and laugh at his own cleverness. Wick's over-the top approach makes you wonder what really lies beneath. Sam Neer's work at Giles Ralston is way beyond his years. He allows Ralston to be fully human and not just a one note. Alayna Moffat as Miss Casewell is clever and complex and commanding and sly. She simply won't let you decide what you think of her. Bryce Smith's Sgt. Trotter is a man of action. You can almost see the wheels spinning in his head as he attempts to unravel the mystery of Monkswell Manor. He is a bit soft-spoken which has you leaning in to gather every thread of his thoughts. These threads are much like puppet strings and he plays with both his fellow castmates and the audience to get to the bottom of the mystery. Christopher Wren, played by Oliver Rowland-Jones, is a quirky young man. His interpretation of this character is a master class of reading between the lines. His words themselves are not so funny, but his delivery and mannerisms add a layer of humor that sets the foundation and lets the audience know they are going to have a good time. But Rowland-Jones doesn't stop there, he adds a layer of humanity and authenticity that keeps Wren from being a joke and makes him a complex character that the audience will care about. Finally Tessa James as Mollie Ralston has all the wide-eyed naivety of a golden age starlet. Her leg-twisting perch on the arm of the sofa demands to be put on a poster somewhere. Her performance was as timeless as the show itself. Together the cast fed each other energy and made each other better.

Sarah Kessler, a newcomer to set design, produced an incredible set for the show. It gave more depth to the stage than the majority of shows I have seen at the Driftwood. Beth Fleming, costumer, gave the character iconic looks that perfectly reflected exactly who the character was from first sighting. Nancy Johnson did a lovely job with set dressing, giving just enough touches to keep the eyes interested without making it overly busy. Gwyn Skone worked his usual magic with layers of light and subtle changes that enhanced the mood without being heavy-handed. Othman's approach to lean-in results in a thoroughly entertaining night at the theater. MOUSETRAP can be a tad dry, a bit sterile, unless you know where to look for opportunities to add humor. Othman didn't miss these opportunities but expanded them so that the audience was so relaxed having fun, that the intensity of the murder mystery is almost startling. Mixing the comedy with the thought-provoking mystery provides a blend of theater that is sure to satisfy every taste. It's simply a winner.

MOUSETRAP is playing now through October 2nd at The Driftwood Theater in Edmonds. Tickets and information are available at Click Here


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