Review: Will you be able to unmask the killer as The Mousetrap arrives in Milton Keynes?

The longest-running play in the world has arrived at Milton Keynes Theatre this week and if you enjoy a good murder/mystery it’d be a fatal mistake to miss it.
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Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, with new casting for its 70th anniversary tour, kept the audience at MK guessing whodunnit until the final moments of Monday’s press night as all parts of the jigsaw finally fell into place.

The cast includes Todd Carty (EastEnders, Grange Hill) who continues to play Major Metcalf and Catherine Shipton (known for playing ‘Duffy’ in BBC drama Casualty) as the fussy Mrs Boyle.

They are joined by Rachel Dawson and Michael Lyle as rookie guest house owners Mollie and Giles Ralston, Shaun McCourt as the excitably childish Christopher Wren, Leigh Lothian as rather abrupt Miss Casewell, Steven Elliot as unexpected guest Mr Paravicini, and Garyn Williams as Detective Sergeant Trotter.

The cast of The Mousetrap.  Image: Matt CrockettThe cast of The Mousetrap.  Image: Matt Crockett
The cast of The Mousetrap. Image: Matt Crockett

As news spreads of a murder in London, the group of seven strangers find themselves snowed in at Monkswell Manor, with the phone lines down.

It seems that the killing has a link to an old case which also puts those staying at this charming but remote countryside guesthouse in peril.

When the detective arrives (on his skis!), the guests discover – to their horror – that a killer is in their midst when a body is discovered in the property.

Gradually we’re fed crumbs of information about the characters’ pasts which gives you reason to wonder one by one if they may be the murderer - or, if not, then at least having an important back story. But what information is crucial and what is a red herring? Which one of them is the murderer and who will be their next victim?

GILES RALSTON (Michael Lyle). Image: Matt CrockettGILES RALSTON (Michael Lyle). Image: Matt Crockett
GILES RALSTON (Michael Lyle). Image: Matt Crockett

The detective tries to piece things together by staging a reconstruction of events based on their statements.

I had a couple of prime suspects in my mind as we progressed through the second half of the show but ultimately I’m no super sleuth, whereas my wife (on no more than a vague hunch rather than detailed justification) correctly picked out the killer early on.

This play was atmospheric and kept the audience on the edge of its seat, but you really do need to concentrate if you want to be able to process all the key information coming your way and give yourself good chance of unmasking the culprit correctly.

The Mousetrap is at Milton Keynes until Saturday (May 27). For further information, see MousetrapOnTour.co.uk and book your tickets at ATGTICKETS.COM/MiltonKeynes