Tuesday May 23rd 2017

The Mousetrap” review by Michael Horn

cast of The MousetrapHighly Recommended ****

Mr. Green, in the parlor, with the candlestick! We all remember the excitement of playing “whodunnit” board games like CLUE, but the genius that spawned these games were the classic murder mysteries, and Agatha Christie was the master murder mystery story teller. As part of its 40 year celebration, Northlight Theatre proudly presents the Mousetrap, one of Agatha Christies best mysteries and the longest running play of all time at 62 years and counting at London’s West End!

The Mousetrap takes place on a snowy night at Monkswell Manor, about 30 miles from London. Mollie and Giles Ralston are newly married and have inherited Monkswell Manor from an aunt. They have decided to run the venerable property as a guest house and are excited to welcome their first customers. Each arrives at different times, under different circumstances; the young Christopher Wren, the battle axe Mrs. Boyle, the stoic Major Metcalf, the secretive miss Casewell, and then there is an unexpected guest, Mr. Paravicini, who has abandoned his car in a snow drift! It is announced on the radio that there has been a murder in London and there is a call from the police, warning them to be careful, which triggers concern among the patrons. A police investigation conducted by Sergeant Trotter, reveals the sordid details of each guest’s mysterious past, but not soon enough to stop the killer from striking again! As always, in Agatha Christie plays, every character is revealed to be a potential culprit and this masterful whodunit weaves an intricate plot filled with nerve-rattling suspense, all leading up to the ultimate final twist.

This production is entertaining and well structured. Director Jonathan Berry shows skill in managing the movement and dialogue of the actors to ensure that the show is interesting, comedic, and dynamic. The set, by Jack Magaw, is beautiful and puts the audience right in the middle of an old English Manor. The lighting, Lee Keenan, the costumes, Izumi Inaba, and the sound, Rick Sims, all add to the ambience and suspense of the production.

Cora Vander Broek plays Mollie Ralston with energy and compassion. Her characterization brings the right balance to the part. Keith Neagle portrays Giles Ralston and demonstrates the characters’ frustration and angst, producing a character deserving our sympathy. Joey deBettencourt plays the schizophrenic Christopher Wren, and he is a hoot, bringing great timing and humor to the part. Laura T. Fisher is the complaining Mrs. Boyle and is just grumpy enough. PatrickClear plays Major Metcalf with silent strength. Lindsay Pearlman is the very secretive Miss Casewell but lets us know that there is more within than meets the eye. Joe Dempsey plays the very humorous Mr. Paravincini with aplomb. Greg Matthew Anderson delivers as Sergeant Trotter, showing us the complexities of this particularly interesting character.
The Mousetrap is hardly gruesome, but it grabs you with a very entertaining plot, complex and interesting characters, and a clever resolution with no clear path until the very end. The show is suspenseful, fun, well acted, and recommended for anyone who enjoys classic mystery theater.

The Mousetrap will run through December 14, 2014                 mousetrap1

Northlight Theatre
9501 Skokie Blvd
Box Office: 847-673-6300
Tickets: $25-$78, students $15 (subject to availability)

Tuesdays: 7:30PM (except Nov. 18 & Dec. 2)
Wednesdays: 1:00PM (except Dec. 10), 7:30PM (except Nov. 26)
Thursdays: 7:30PM (except Nov. 27)
Fridays: 8:00PM
Saturdays: 2:30PM (except Nov. 8), 8:00PM
Sundays: 2:30PM & 7:00PM (except Nov.16, Nov. 23, & Dec. 14)

Recommended for ages 10 and up.
Running Time: approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes
There is one 15-minute intermission.

*There is plenty of open parking in the adjacent parking garage

To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “The Mousetrap”.




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