The Mousetrap: Thrilling murder mystery at its finest during its 70th Anniversary

On Brisbane opening night of the world’s longest running play our team caught ‘The Mousetrap’ at The Playhouse, QPAC for thrilling murder mystery at its finest during its 70th Anniversary. The iconic Agatha Christie’s enticing play made Brisbane the detectives and left the audience on the edge of their seat as they put their sleuth hats on to solve the much-anticipated crime of whodunnit.

The show set-in post-war England centered around a couple Mollie and Giles Ralston who have just opened their own bed and breakfast at Monkswell Manor Guesthouse. Their first guests were snowed in when a policeman arrived and caused havoc as a real-life game of ‘Cluedo’ began as he interrogates each character and discovered more than anticipated. The play explored themes of revenge, grief, abuse, childhood trauma, trust, love, and salvation.

Anna O’Byrne embodied the sweet and strong-willed Mollie Ralston. Anna played the anxious but observant woman with such grace and nuance as she tried to leave a wonderful first impression as a host and play the ideal housewife. Her character was a schoolteacher when she was younger and was mixed up with the mystery of the child that was killed. Anna’s interactions with Detective Sergeant Trotter were compelling and captivating as the truth of the past was revealed.

Alex Rathgeber gave an enthralling performance as husband and occasionally headstrong guesthouse co-host Giles Ralston. Alex played the role with such skepticism of the crime that entered their lives, and they could never be involved in such a ridiculous offence. His on-stage relationship with Anna as Mollie was sweet to watch as they leaned on each other but also were suspicious of each other as they were both in London on the day the first murder occurred.

Laurence Boxhall was a hit with the audience as the quirky, hilarious, and surprising Christopher Wren. The laughter ensued as soon as he entered the scene as the very first guest at the manor. Named after the English Architect of the same name the character was mesmerised and fascinated with all the shenanigans that occurred with all the strangers in one house together. Laurence had that special sauce that held the audience’s attention with his outbursts and funny one-liners, his communication with Anna who played Molly was gorgeous to watch as she did not believe he was crazy or capable of hurting anyone as she knew kids like him when she was a teacher.

The legend of Australian theatre Geraldine Turner wonderfully took on the role of Mrs Boyle. Her character had a knack for complaining about everything and anything. As soon as she arrived to the guesthouse, she mentioned in a grumpy undertone about the cold weather and questioned the lack of house staff. Even as they said she was welcome to leave if she was unhappy, she switched tune and wanted to stay and check it out before she left. To her demise she was targeted moments before the interval as we learned she was a magistrate at the time who assigned the psycho foster parents to the children in the murder story. It was glorious to see Geraldine Turner come alive so to speak as the tremendous performer she is.

Adam Murphy played the astute character of Major Metcalf an ex-military man with such commitment. His tenacious choices were commended as he slyly pretended to be someone he was not. Towards the end of the play, it is revealed he was an undercover policeman who was trying to uncover the truth about the murder in London as he was tipped off by the clues of the manor at the first crime scene. Adam was incredibly present and gave no clues away.

The mysterious Miss Casewell was personified with great distinction by Charlotte Friels. She confidently entered the manor donning an incredible pantsuit ensemble as she sussed out the place as if she was looking for clues to her own mystery immediately. Her character subtly dove into her childhood trauma with a few of the characters as her sarcastic nature and anxious inner child was revealed. Charlotte was fantastic as the strange woman looking as though she had something to hide. Her breakthrough moment at the conclusion of the show was remarkable to watch as she finally found what she was looking for – her family, as it is revealed she is the sister of the boy that was killed when she was younger.  

The iconic Gerry Connolly portrayed the role of Mr Paravicini so mischievously. His character was the foreign traveler that got stuck in the snow and sneakily ends up in everyone’s business. Gerry put his whole soul into this role and was very suspicious, particularly when he played the ‘3 Blind Mice’ tune on the piano to make the character a little creepier as that was the theme song of the murderer.

Tom Conroy beautifully brought to life the character of Detective Sergeant Trotter. Tom illustrated the range of emotion one person can hold in their repertoire. He was the catalyst in the show for all hell breaking loose as he personified an unusually invested ‘policeman’ striving to solve a murder, all at the same time he was investigating the different people in his life that he believed did wrong by him and his family. It is unveiled that he was not part of the police force in the slightest and enacted his much-anticipated revenge from being hurt, betrayed and damaged as a child. Tom found the exact balance between wanting to take down his enemies and the relief and love of finding his family and learning to accept what happened and what is.

Congratulations to Elisa Colla and Jack Bannister as the female and male standby actors respectively for the celebrated production. They work hard to learn all the complicated and beautifully written roles and it needs to be admired.

At the conclusion of the brilliant stage production the cast asked the Brisbane crowd to keep the secrets of the mystery quiet for others to feel surprised when they discover the truth of the past and murderous misunderstood villains. Don’t miss out on witnessing this wonderful cast of enchanting actors as they take you on a treacherous expedition to discover the art of being human in unfortunate situations and how vastly different people interact and express themselves. The longest running play in the world is a mysterious thrill now playing in Brisbane for a limited season until 20 November – get your tickets now!

TICKETS 🎟 The Mousetrap- The Playhouse Theatre, QPAC until 20 November

All images supplied.