Mousetrap Mystery at The Rep
by Dianne Beckwith
With a blizzard rapidly approaching, this legendary mystery opens with a radio announcement that a murder has occurred in London. Scotland Yard has reason to believe the killer has likely absconded to the English countryside. In Monkswell Manor, a large home-turned-country inn, Mollie and Giles Ralston are nervously awaiting the arrival of their very first overnight guests. This setting frames St. Louis Repertory Theatre’s final production of 2013, “The Mousetrap” by Agatha Christie. Paul Mason Barnes directs this classic play which runs until December 29.
The radio announcer is heard once again. This time, he gives a rather generic description of the killer on the loose, said to be wearing a dark overcoat, light-colored scarf, and a soft felt hat. As the wind howls outside, one by one, the guests begin to arrive. Each is bundled up against the blustery late afternoon weather. The guests range from overly fussy to downright persnickety, but as they brush snow off their coats and rush toward the hearth to warm hands and backsides, it is hard to miss what they have in common: all have dark overcoats, light-colored scarves, and soft felt hats.
Shortly after an unexpected guest checks in, the blizzard is full-on and it becomes apparent to all present that no one will be able to travel on for quite some time. The hosts and their guests do their best to keep calm and carry on, but when a police detective arrives, the ambiance takes a turn. The detective lets everyone know Scotland Yard has deduced that the murder suspect may target them soon. Now, the Ralstons and their visitors have to wonder whether there is a killer amongst them, and if so, who?
As the plot thickens, the suspense builds, and a mystery unfolds. There is a surprising twist at the end of the play. Perhaps that explains why this delicious drama, now in its 61st year, is the longest-running show in theatre history! For more information go to the Rep’s website at www.repstl.org.