There’s nothing like a cozy Agatha Christie murder mystery and Spotlighters Theatre has a classic with its current production of “The Mousetrap.” It is, in fact, the longest running play in the history of London’s West End. The time is 1957 and a young couple, Mollie (Margaret Masucci) and Giles (Dagan Brown), married only a year, have inherited Monkswell Manor and turned the big country home into a guesthouse. They are expecting their very first guests and over the radio is a news report (Phil Gallagher as the Radio Announcer) of a murder in London of a Maureen Lyon. Shortly, all the interesting characters you have come to expect from a Christie story will arrive. One is the murderer and the others are in danger of being the next victim. It is all complicated by a coming blizzard which will leave them cut off from civilization for a day or two.
…a great mystery with a surprise ending…
First to arrive is the excitable, young, and slightly unkempt Christopher Wren (Mark Wallace). Dropped off by a taxi (together but they are not a couple) are the thoroughly unlikeable and constantly complaining Mrs. Boyle (Terri Laurino) and the amiable Major Metcalf (Darren McGregor). Then Miss Casewell (Katilin Ruby) arrives. It appears that she is very independent young woman and dresses like a man (remember this is unusual for a woman in the 1950s). The final guest is the impeccably dressed and eccentric foreigner, Mr Paravicini (Glen Charlow), who claims that his car has overturned in a snowdrift.
The guests don’t seem to be getting along and are restless when Mollie receives a phone call from the local police saying they are dispatching Detective Sgt. Trotter (Andy Belt) to the Manor. He arrives on skis and warns them of their imminent danger and possible connection to the murder in London. He tries to get information from everyone but it seems that they all have something to hide. It would be unfair to say too much more as the fun is in the twists and turns and trying to figure out whodunnit. Suffice it to say, there is another murder and a surprise ending.
The entire cast does a solid job but Belt as Trotter gives a wonderful performance—and not just for the amount of lines he had the learn for the role which was considerable. Another standout (and hard to believe his first role since middle school) is Brown as Giles. He is very natural and believable. Charlow and Laurino are a hoot.
Director Paul Saar (also Props Designer) moves the actors around well, utilizing every corner of the intimate theater in the round. Praise goes to the creative team that includes set designer/build/paint Alan S. Zemla for capturing the feel and look of a 1950s country home. Costumes designers Margaret Massuci and Catherine Hilgartner are spot on with the costumes of the era. If you are in the mood for a great mystery with a surprise ending, head to Spotlighters.
Running time: Approximately two hours and 15 minutes with one 15-minute intermission.
“The Mousetrap” runs through May 1, 2022 at Spotlighters Theater, 817 St Paul St, Baltimore, MD 21202. For more information and tickets, please click here. Masks and proof of vaccination are required.