February 2016

Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap: Suspects & Suspense Afoot

Author: Andrea Gannon

Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap has been running in London for more than 60 years now. Some 25,000 performances of the whodunit that bested all whodunits have taken place, making The Mousetrap by far the longest-running show in British theatrical history.

The Mousetrap practically invented the rules of the genre: a group of strangers thrown together in a location (a guest house), cut off from the outside world (it’s snowing), and the police inspector whose investigation unspools in real time. But The Mousetrap has an especially shrewd, double-barreled plot that keeps the audience guessing until the last moment.

Returning to the Arts Center to direct the show is New York’s Russell Treyz, who is a master at weaving both story and staging. As mentioned, the scene is set when a group of strangers become stranded in a country manor, cut off from civilization by a blizzard.

The curious suspects include the newlyweds who run the house, a spinster with a sketchy background, an architect who seems better equipped to be a chef, a retired Army major, a strange little man who claims his car has overturned in a drift, and a jurist who makes life miserable for everyone. Enter the policeman, who no sooner arrives when someone is killed. One by one, the suspicious characters reveal their sordid pasts until at the last, nerve-shredding moment the identity and the motive are finally revealed.

“Everyone is trapped in this guesthouse; they have no means of contacting the outside world, and the murderer is among them. No one is quite what they seem. They all have secrets. It’s great, thrilling fun!” Treyz said. “The play features a cast of eight intriguing characters, and we have a powerhouse cast of actors to bring them to life. Audiences will recognize Ethan Saks from The Unexpected Guest and I Hate Hamlet and Daryll Heysham from To Kill a Mockingbird and Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure.

In her own inimitable style, Dame Agatha Christie has created an atmosphere of shuddering suspense and a brilliantly intricate plot where thrills and surprises lurk around every corner. And Treyz brings it all to life on the Arts Center stage.

Tickets for preview performances, February 9-11, are $37 for adults and $27 for children 5-15; Regular tickets, February 12-28, are $47 for adults and $33 for children, and can be purchased by calling the box office at (843) 842-2787 or visiting the website at artshhi.com. 

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