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The Mousetrap
by Agatha Christie
directed by Jonathan Berry

NOVEMBER 7, 2014 - DECEMBER 21, 2014

THIS PRODUCTION CLOSED DECEMBER 21, 2014

 

CLASSIC MURDER MYSTERY

 

On a snowy night at Monkswell Manor, newlyweds Mollie and Giles welcome a group of strangers to their guest house, only to discover news of a murderer in their midst! A police investigation reveals the sordid details of each guest's mysterious past, but not soon enough to stop the killer from striking again. Agatha Christie's masterful whodunit weaves an intricate plot filled with nerve-rattling suspense, all leading up to the ultimate final twist! 

Open Captioning December 7

 

Recommended for ages 10 and up.

Running Time: approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes, including one 15-minute intermission.


This production is made possible in part by Individual Production Sponsors Mr. and Mrs. Nick Alexos,


and by Opening Night Sponsors:

FSIK     Vinic Wine     Whole Foods



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- View pictures of the set being built

- View rehearsal photos

- Read the program

- Attend one of the free library events

 


Production History

 

Mousetrap photo 1The Mousetrap has been running continuously in London for over 60 years and over 25,000 productions, making it far and away the longest-running show of all time.  The show first opened at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham in October 1952, directed by Peter Coates.  After a brief tour, it moved to the West End's Ambassadors Theatre the following month, where it remained for the next 21 years.  On March 23, 1974 it transferred to the larger St. Martin's theatre, where it has remained ever since.  The show, a classic mystery famous for its twist ending (to which audiences are sworn to secrecy), began as a radio play called Three Blind Mice broadcast in 1947.  Christie based her story on the real life case of Dennis O'Neill, a Welsh boy who died from the neglect and abuse of his foster parents and whose case led to an overhaul of the United Kingdom's foster care laws.  The radio play was adapted into a short story of the same name, which was then adapted into the current play, with Christie requesting that the short story remain unpublished until the West End show had been closed for at least six months.  (The short story remains unpublished in England today, although it was released in the U.S. as part of the 1950 collection Three Blind Mice and Other Stories.) In 1954, Agatha Christie became the first female playwright to have three shows running simultaneously on the West End, as The Mousetrap ran alongside her plays Spider's Web and Witness for the Prosecution.

 

Mousetrap photo 2Given its longevity, the show has become somewhat of a cultural institution in London, and its casts over the years have included numerous famous names including Richard Attenborough (the original Sergeant Trotter) and a 60th anniversary production starring Hugh Bonneville, Patrick Stewart, Julie Waters, and Miranda Hart.  Some actors have maintained their roles for years (Mysie Monte famously played Mrs. Boyle from May 2, 1955 to November 26, 1967, and David Raven played Major Metcalf for 4,575 performances from 1957 to 1968), although today the cast generally changes annually.  And while the set has undergone a few changes over the years, the original clock from the 1952 set remains on the mantle, and Deryck Guyler's original reading of the opening news bulletin can still be heard on the radio (making him unofficially the longest serving member of the cast).

 

Other Productions

 

Prior to The Mousetrap's 60th anniversary, rights to the play were closely guarded, aside from a strong Canadian run (Truck Theatre, Toronto-1977 to 2004) and a few select U.S. productions. After 2012, however, these restrictions were lifted, and numerous theaters joined in the anniversary celebrations.

 


Selected works by Agatha Christie

 

The Mysterious Affair at Styles1920 The Mysterious Affair at Styles (introducing Hercule Poirot, Chief Inspector Japp, and Captain Hastings)
1922 The Secret Adversary (introducing Tommy and Tuppence)
1923 Murder on the Links
1924 The Man in the Brown Suit
1925 The Secret of Chimneys
1926 The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
1930 The Murder at the Vicarage (introducing Jane Marple)
1931 The Sittaford Mystery (also known as Murder at Hazelmore)
1932 Peril at End House
1933 Lord Edgware Dies (also known as Thirteen at Dinner)
1934 Murder on the Orient Express
1934 Why Didn't They Ask Evans? (also known as The Boomerang Clue)
1935 Three Act Tragedy (also known as Murder in Three Acts)
1935 Death in the Clouds (also known as Death in the Air)
1936 The A.B.C. Murders (also known as The Alphabet Murders)
1936 Murder in Mesopotamia
1936 Cards on the Table
1937 Death on the Nile
Murder on the Orient Express1937 Dumb Witness (also known as Poirot Loses a Client and Mystery at Littlegreen House and Murder at Littlegreen House)
1938 Appointment with Death
1938 Hercule Poirot's Christmas (also known as Murder for Christmas and A Holiday for Murder)
1939 And Then There Were None (also known as Ten Little Indians and originally as Ten Little Niggers)
1939 Murder is Easy (also known as Easy to Kill)
1940 Sad Cypress
1940 One, Two, Buckle My Shoe (also known as An Overdose of Death and The Patriotic Murders)
1941 Evil Under the Sun
1942 The Body in the Library
1942 Five Little Pigs (also known as Murder in Retrospect)
1942 The Moving Finger (also known as The Case of the Moving Finger)
1944 Towards Zero (also known as Come and Be Hanged)
1944 Death Comes as the End
1945 Sparkling Cyanide (also known as Remembered Death)
1946 The Hollow (also known as Murder After Hours)
1949 Crooked House
1950 A Murder is Announced
And Then There Were None1952 Mrs McGinty's Dead (also known as Blood Will Tell)
1952 They Do It with Mirrors (also known as Murder with Mirrors)
1953 A Pocket Full of Rye
1953 After the Funeral (also known as Funerals are Fatal and Murder at the Gallop)
1955 Hickory Dickory Dock (also known as Hickory Dickory Death)
1956 Dead Man's Folly
1957 4.50 From Paddington (also known as What Mrs. McGillycuddy Saw and Murder She Said)
1958 Ordeal by Innocence
1961 The Pale Horse
1962 The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side (also known as The Mirror Crack'd)
1967 Endless Night
1969 Hallowe'en Party
1973 Postern of Fate (final Tommy and Tuppence, last novel Christie wrote)
1975 Curtain (Poirot's last case, written four decades earlier)
1976 Sleeping Murder (Miss Marple's last case, written four decades earlier)


Glossary

 

Canterbury: stand for holding sheet music, books, or magazines

 

Scotland Yard: the headquarters, and a general catch-all name, for London's Metropolitan Police Service.  Also known as simply "The Met," they were formed from the Metropolitan Police Act of 1829, and had their original base of operations in a small building bordering a street called Great Scotland Yard.

 

Paddington: a district in the city of Westminster, in central London.

 

Mug: a gullible person, a fool

 

GuineBird of paradisea: equivalent to one pound and one shilling (approximately £1.05); while the actual guinea coin ceased circulation in the 19th century, the phrase retained an aristocratic connotation was still used in some business transactions

 

Memsahib: a white foreign woman of high status living in India; the term especially referred to the wives of British officers

 

Benares: also known as Varansi, a city in northern India nicknamed the "spiritual capital of India"

 

Bird of paradise: a species of brightly colored birds from New Guinea region

 

Dogsbody: a lowly worker, grunt, slave

 

Sir Christopher WrenChristopher Wren: (1632-1733) an English mathematician, astronomer, inventor, architect, and founding member of the Royal Society.  He is best known for his design of numerous London churches, including St. Paul's Cathedral

 

Hercule Poirot: the dapper mustachioed Belgian detective who stars in many of Agatha Christie's stories

 

Tabby: A spinster or gossipy old woman

 

Chilblains: painful inflammation of the skin that may occur when one is suddenly exposed to heat in cold temperatures.  Chilblains can cause itching, swelling, or blistering on the areas affected.

 

Spiv: a petty criminal, or one who makes money through dishonest methods

 

Barrister: A British lawyer who has the right to argue in higher courts of law

 

Christopher Robin: a character created by A. A. Milne, who appears in his poetry and Winnie-the-Pooh stories.  Named after Milne's son, he is a boy who lives the Hundred Acre Wood with various animal friends

 

Barmy: foolish, daft


CAST

 Greg Matthew Anderson

Greg Matthew Anderson (Detective Sergeant Trotter) returns to Northlight where he last appeared in Sense & Sensibility.  He is an Artistic Associate at Remy Bumppo, where credits include Power, The Best Man, The Philadelphia Story, Bronte, On the Verge, The Marriage of Figaro, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Night and DayThe Importance of Being Earnest, Chesapeake (Jeff nomination), You Never Can TellNorthanger Abbey and An Inspector Calls.  He has appeared onstage at Goodman (Rock 'N Roll, the commercial production Immediate Family), Court (Arcadia), American Theater Company (Sons of the Prophet, Oklahoma!) and IO (A Moment Alone).  Television: Chicago Fire (NBC), Betrayal (ABC), The Playboy Club (NBC), Underemployed (MTV), The Chicago Code (Fox), Detroit 187 (ABC) and the pilot Matadors (ABC/Sony). Film: Transformers: Age of Extinction, The Middle Distance, and the Chicago indie Older Children.  Greg is a graduate of Duke University's Department of Theater Studies. 

Patrick Clear

 

Patrick Clear (Major Metcalf) returns to Northlight where he has been seen in The Miser, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde and Pride and Prejudice.  He has appeared in more than 60 productions in the Chicago area, most recently in Henry V (Chicago Shakespeare), Port Authority (Writers), Meet Vera Stark and Teddy Ferrara  (Goodman), The March (Steppenwolf) and Seascape (Remy Bumppo).  His regional credits include appearances at Asolo Repertory, Indiana Repertory, Cleveland Playhouse, Maltz Jupiter, Arena Stage, Guthrie, American Shakespeare, Centerstage, Huntington and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.  He appeared on Broadway in Noises Off and Hollywood Arms.  Film and television credits include Chicago P.D., The Dark Knight, Boss, The Untouchables and Early Edition.

Joey deBettencourt

 

Joey deBettencourt (Christopher Wren) is excited to be performing at Northlight and is thrilled to be making a return to his home town and the Chicago stage after spending this last year as the lead in the Broadway First National Tour of Peter and the Starcatcher. Some Chicago credits: Punk Rock (Jeff Award Best Actor) and Flare Path (Griffin), South of Settling (Steppenwolf), Idomeneus (Sideshow) and Cherrywood (Mary-Arrchie). Film: At Any Price (Sony Classic) and World's Worst Musical (Verse Factory). A proud Equity member and ensemble member with Griffin, he is grateful to Jon for believing in him and Julie for supporting him. Joey is represented by Shirley Hamilton (Chicago) and CESD (NY, LA). www.joeydebettencourt.com 


 Joe Dempsey

Joe Dempsey (Mr. Paravicini) is really happy to be back at Northlight where he acted in Inherit the Wind and All in the Timing. He recently appeared in Native Son at Court and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Drury Lane Oak Brook, for which he received a Jeff Award nomination.  He has also worked at Steppenwolf, Goodman, Victory Gardens, Lookingglass, Next, Remy Bumppo, Second City and many others. Regionally, he has worked at Milwaukee Rep, St. Louis Rep, Kansas City Rep, Cincinnati Playhouse, Centerstage - Baltimore and City Theatre - Pittsburgh. He is also a proud member of the Neo-Futurists, writing and performing in their late-night signature show, Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. Big love to JBerry. 


Laura T Fisher

Laura T. Fisher (Mrs. Boyle) is thrilled to make her Northlight debut.  Recently, Laura appeared in Theater Wit's Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England in Chicago and Las Vegas.  Laura has performed at many local theatres including the Goodman, Court, Chicago Shakespeare, Victory Gardens and Next, where she is an artistic associate. Laura has received a Joseph Jefferson and an After Dark award for her performance in Famous Door's Early and Often, and Jeff nominations for Famous Door's Remembrance and Hushabye Mountain, and Remy Bumppo's The Secret Rapture. TV/Film work includes Contagion, Jessica, Body(s) and Chicago Fire.  Up next is Milwaukee Repertory's Good People.  Laura is a member of SAG-AFTRA and AEA, is represented by Grossman Jack Talent, and studies with Maryann Thebus.  Many thanks to Jonathan, Jess, Lynn, BJ and Don. 

 Keith Neagle

 

Keith Neagle (Giles Ralston) is grateful to make his Northlight debut, having just worked with Mr. Berry on Gift's production of Othello.  With Pavement Group, Keith has appeared in Harry & the Thief, Breaks & BikesGirl You Know It's True, punkplay, Fracture/Mechanics, Arrangements and Lipstick Traces. Other recent Chicago credits include: Seminar (Haven); Orange Flower Water (Interrobang); understudy for Three Sisters and Samuel J & K (Steppenwolf); Sweet Confinement (SiNNERMAN); Night and Her Stars (Gift); We Live Here and Yes, This Really Happened to Me (Theatre Seven); Sweet Bird of Youth (Artistic Home); The Pigeons (Walkabout); and Everything Freezes: another winter's tale (Sideshow).  Keith is a graduate of Texas A&M University and the School at Steppenwolf, and is represented by Actors Talent Group. 

Lindsey Pearlman

Lindsey Pearlman (Miss Casewell) is delighted to return to Northlight after understudying Sky Girls. She has been seen at A Red Orchid (Trevor), Gift (The Last Days of Judas Iscariot), Chicago Shakespeare (How Can You Run with a Shell on Your Back, u/s), Theatre Wit (Two for the Show), Rivendell (Expecting Isabel and Self Defense), Polarity (Never the Bridesmaid - 2013 Jeff Award Recipient/Actress in a Principal Role) and others.  In the spring of 2015 she will appear in Love, Loss, and What I Wore at First Folio.  Lindsey is a proud graduate of The Second City Conservatory and is an Artistic Associate of Stage Left Theatre. www.lindseypearlman.com. Gratitude to Grossman & Jack Talent and husband Vance.  For Molly. .

 Cora Vander Broek

 

Cora Vander Broek (Mollie Ralston) is thrilled to be back at Northlight! Previous Northlight credits: Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde and Pride and Prejudice. Other selected Chicago credits:  Hank Williams: Lost Highway (American Blues); Luck of the Irish and Madagascar (Next); All My Sons (TimeLine); Dead Man's Cell Phone (Steppenwolf); Dead End (Griffin, Jeff Citation Nominee - Actress in a Supporting Role); and Book of Days (After Dark Award - Actress in a Principal Role) and The Seagull (Raven).  Recent regional credits: In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play (Actors Theatre of Louisville and Milwaukee Repertory); Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, Doubt, and A Christmas Carol (Indiana Repertory) and Heartbreak House (Montana Shakespeare in the Parks). Cora can be seen in the independent feature films Where We Started and in the upcoming Of Minor Prophets and Blur Circle. Cora is a graduate of the School of Steppenwolf and is represented by Big Mouth Talent. 


PRODUCTION

Jonathan Berry (Director) Steep Theatre, Artistic Associate, productions include: If There is I Haven't Found It Yet, The Knowledge, Festen, Moment, The Hollow Lands and The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui.  Griffin Theatre, Artistic Associate: Golden Boy, The Burnt Part Boys, Spring Awakening, Punk Rock (Jeff award - Director, Ensemble) Port, On the Shore of the Wide World, Company, Picnic, Time and the Conways (Jeff nomination - Director, Ensemble), Dead End, The Hostage and Journey's End. Steppenwolf: A Separate Peace and the world premiere of Gary. Goodman: The World of Extreme Happiness and The Solid Sand Below.  Roundabout (NY): Suicide, Incorporated.  Other work includes Gift: Othello, Dirty and Suicide, Incorporated; Chicago Dramatists: I am Going to Change the World; RedTwist: Look Back in Anger, Reverb; Remy Bumppo: The Marriage of Figaro; Theatre Mir: The Sea and Caucasian Chalk Circle; Lifeline: The Piano Tuner (After Dark award - Best Production). He pursued his MFA in directing from Northwestern University. He has taught at University of Michigan, Northwestern University, University of Chicago, Act One Studios, Columbia College and The School at Steppenwolf. 


Jack Magaw (Scenic Design) most recently designed scenery for Chapatti, Detroit '67 and 4000 Miles at Northlight.  Other Off-Broadway, Chicago area and regional theatre credits include The Who and the What (Lincoln Center and La Jolla Playhouse), Joan of Arc (Chicago Opera Theater), Awake and Sing (Olney), A Raisin in the Sun (Milwaukee Repertory), Hank Williams: Lost Highway (Clarence Brown), Romeo and Juliet and The Foreigner (Kansas City Repertory), And Then There Were None and Butler (Peninsula Players) and Hedda Gabler (Writers).  Eight Jefferson Award nominations include designs for The Caretaker (Writers), The Whipping Man (Northlight) and Disgraced (American Theatre Company).  Upcoming projects:  Rapture Blister Burn (Goodman) and The Diary of Anne Frank (Writers).  Jack is married to director Kimberly Senior and teaches design at The Theatre School at DePaul University.  www.jackmagaw.com

 

Izumi Inaba (Costume Design) is thrilled to be working at Northlight for the first time. Her recent design credits include Mnemonic (Red Tape), Season On The Line (House), Agreed Upon Fictions (16th Street), The Hundred Flowers Project (Silk Road Rising) and Animal Farm (Steppenwolf for Young Adults). She is a company member at Red Tape, a resident costume designer at Albany Park Theatre Project and a faculty/designer at National High School Institute. She has received two non-equity Jeff Awards and the Michael Maggio Emerging Designer Award, and has her MFA in Stage Design from Northwestern University.

 

Lee Keenan (Lighting Design) has designed lights for The House Theatre of Chicago (company member), Northlight, Lookingglass, Court, Next, 500 Clown, Silk Road Rising (Artistic Associate), Milwaukee Rep, Centerstage Baltimore, Kansas City Rep, Circle, Griffin, Bailiwick, Infamous Commonwealth, Buzz22, Theatre Seven of Chicago, Bailiwick Chicago, Steppenwolf SYA, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre Short Shakes!, About Face Youth Theatre, The Building Stage, Apple Tree and Santa Barbara Dance Alliance.  Lee's scenic designs have been seen at Silk Road Rising, Collaboraction, Adventure Stage, Infamous Commonwealth and The Hypocrites. Lee is a Senior Lecturer at Loyola University Chicago and holds an MFA in Theatre Design from Northwestern University.

 

Rick Sims (Sound Design) has composed and designed sound for numerous Lookingglass productions and many other Chicago area theatres such as Steppenwolf, Congo Square, Writers, Lifeline, Griffin, The House, Court, ATC, Victory Gardens, The Raven, Steep, Northlight and About Face. Out of town credits include Icarus at the Getty in L.A. with Lookingglass and Gary at Boston Playwrights. Rick has won a Jeff Award for lyrics in Hepheastus and a BTAA award for Congo Squares' Brothers In the Dust, and has received several nominations for both awards. Rick is an artistic associate of Lookingglass Theatre Company and an associate designer with Aria Music Designs (Ray Nardelli and Josh Horvath). Rick also wrote the book, music, and lyrics for Lookingglass' Hillbilly Antigone.

 

Laura D. Glenn (Production Stage Manager) Over the past thirteen years with Northlight, production stage management credits include Chapatti, The Whipping Man, The Odd Couple, Ten Chimneys, Season's Greetings, Sense & Sensibility, A Life, Souvenir, Better Late (also at the Galway Arts Festival), Retreat from Moscow, Permanent Collection, Cat Feet, Blue/Orange, Tuesdays with Morrie, Sky Girls, Rounding Third and A Skull in Connemara. Other credits include stage management for The Qualms, Lord of the Flies, Slowgirl, Head of Passes, Three Sisters, Middletown, To Kill a Mockingbird, a parallelogram, Superior Donuts, Betrayal, Love Song, I Never Sang for my Father, The Violet Hour, Purple Heart, The Drawer Boy, Picasso at the Lapin Agile and many others at Steppenwolf over the past twenty-four years. International credits include Orange Flower Water and Purple Heart (Steppenwolf) at the Galway Arts Festival in Galway, Ireland; The Man Who Came to Dinner - BITE festival at the Barbican Center in London; and the regional and Broadway productions of Buried Child. Laura has been a proud member of Actors Equity Association for twenty-four years.

 

Agatha Christie (Playwright, 1890-1976) is the author not only of The Mousetrap, the longest-running stage production in history, but also Witness for the Prosecution and And Then There Were None, to name but a few of her greatest stage successes. Her novels have sold more than 2 billion copies around the world, and she is only outsold by the Bible and Shakespeare. Born in 1890 in Torquay, Devon, England, to an American father and English mother, she wrote her first play Black Coffee (the only play in which she chose to feature Poirot) in 1930, having been disappointed by the way The Murder of Roger Ackroyd had been adapted into Alibi in 1928. She adapted her bestselling novel And Then There Were None for the stage in 1943, giving it a different ending, followed by in quick succession Appointment with Death (1945), Murder on the Nile (1946), and The Hollow (1951). With The Mousetrap (1952), Witness for the Prosecution (1953), and Spider's Web (1954), she became the only female playwright to have three plays running in the West End at the same time. Later plays include Towards Zero (1956), co-adapted with Gerald Verner; Verdict (1958), possibly her most unusual play; Go Back for Murder (1960); and Rule of Three (1962), a series of three one act plays. After a hugely successful career and a wonderful life, Ms. Christie died peacefully in 1976.


View set construction photos.

 

View rehearsal photos.


Production photos by Michael Brosilow below.



Photo Gallery

Click on any image to start the slideshow  Click on images to start slideshow


The Mousetrap scenic design by Jack MagawKeith Neagle (Giles Ralston) and Cora Vander Broek (Mollie Ralston)Joey deBettencourt (Christopher Wren) and Cora Vander Broek (Mollie Ralston)Laura T. Fisher (Mrs. Boyle) and Keith Neagle (Giles Ralston)(L-r) Cora Vander Broek (Mollie Ralston), Joey deBettencourt (Christopher Wren), and Laura T. Fisher (Mrs. Boyle)Joe Dempsey (Mr. Paravicini) and Cora Vander Broek (Mollie Ralston)(L-r) Joe Dempsey (Mr. Paravicini), Cora Vander Broek (Mollie Ralston), and Keith Neagle (Giles Ralston)(L-r) Laura T. Fisher (Mrs. Boyle) and Lindsey Pearlman (Miss Casewell)(L-r) Joey deBettencourt (Christopher Wren), Joe Dempsey (Mr. Paravicini), and Patrick Clear (Major Metcalf)Joe Dempsey (Mr. Paravicini) and Cora Vander Broek (Mollie Ralston)
(L-r) Keith Neagle (Giles Ralston) and Greg Matthew Anderson (Sergeant Trotter)(L-r) Laura T. Fisher (Mrs. Boyle), Cora Vander Broek (Mollie Ralston), Keith Neagle (Giles Ralston), Greg Matthew Anderson (Sergeant Trotter), Joe Dempsey (Mr. Paravicini), Joey deBettencourt (Christopher Wren), and Patrick Clear (Major Metcalf)Laura T. Fisher (Mrs. Boyle) and Joey deBettencourt (Christopher Wren)(L-r) Keith Neagle (Giles Ralston), Cora Vander Broek (Mollie Ralston), and Greg Matthew Anderson (Sergeant Trotter)Lindsey Pearlman (Miss Casewell)(L-r) Joey deBettencourt (Christopher Wren), Patrick Clear (Major Metcalf), Greg Matthew Anderson (Sergeant Trotter), and Keith Neagle (Giles Ralston)Cora Vander Broek (Mollie Ralston) and Joey deBettencourt (Christopher Wren)(L-r) Joe Dempsey (Mr. Paravicini), Greg Matthew Anderson (Sergeant Trotter), Joey deBettencourt (Christopher Wren), and Cora Vander Broek (Mollie Ralston)Greg Matthew Anderson (Sergeant Trotter)The cast of The Mousetrap
Director Jonathan Berry with The Mousetrap cast




 The Mousetrap

 The Mousetrap
Scene from The Mousetrap
 
 

REVIEW

Northlight catches all the guilty pleasures in The Mousetrap

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
By HEDY WEISS

 

Jonathan Berry is a hair-raisingly good director (recall Look Back in Anger at Redtwist, Golden Boy at Griffin, Festen at Steep and a slew of other productions). But I doubt I would have pegged him as the ideal person to stage a revival of Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, that delicious whodunit of a murder mystery (with surprising psychological undertones) that is renowned as the world’s longest-running show. (The production in London’s West End has been playing for 62 years.)

 

Happily, Berry caught me in my own trap. His Northlight Theatre production is exceptionally smart, subtly dark and hilariously funny — and so supremely well cast and absolutely airtight in its unspooling that I not only chased the cheese all the way to the end, but heard the perfect little snap that proclaimed “case solved” ...

 

I will say no more about any of this, aside from the fact that Christie wove her very twisted web with masterful skill, and Berry and his actors have embellished it brilliantly. And oh, yes, there is this: The Mousetrap is just tremendous fun.

 

Read the full review>


REVIEW

Northlight’s Mousetrap is must-see murder and mayhem

EVANSTON REVIEW
By CATEY SULLIVAN

 

A dead body (or two), a blinding storm and a house full of eccentrics — one of whom is a murderer poised to strike again. It’s a killer combination, and one that plays out with intelligence, wit and terrific suspense in Northlight Theatre’s staging of Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap.

 

You may be tempted to sniff with disdain at the prospect of The Mousetrap. It’s been running for 62 years in London, where it is indeed a bonafide tourist trap. It’s also utterly formulaic: Isolate a group of colorful yet familiar types in an atmospheric old mansion, add in a dead body, and let the audience puzzle over whodunit.

 

But with Northlight’s production, director Jonathan Berry takes the tropes of the genre and invigorates them into a fresh, exciting thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat from lights up to curtain call.

 

Read the full review>


REVIEW

Sights + Sounds: The Mousetrap

SHERIDAN ROAD
By BRIAN KIRST

 

Northlight Theatre has your nontraditional holiday celebrating covered this year. Their truly classy and fun production of Agatha Christie’s classic The Mouse Trap takes place on a wintery, snow swept night. But the chills produced here are, ultimately, not a result of the weather, but of the tense and eventually murderous theatrics.

 

One of the most popular plays ever produced, Christie’s mystery has run for 62 years on London’s West End. Not surprisingly, the show is full of multiple pleasures. Taking place on the opening day of a fledgling guest house, surprise soon becomes the name of the game. As newlywed owners Mollie and Giles try to cater to the whims of such clients as the youthfully odd Christopher, the charmingly aggressive Miss Casewell and the menacingly displeased Mrs Boyle, danger soon strikes. A handsome detective arrives, just as the entire group is snowed in, with news of a maniac on the loose. Soon, a life is taken and everyone else is either in danger or a possible suspect in the crime.

 

Nicely, despite a certain sense of formula, Christie creates characters with distinct emotional edges here, giving the audience a relatable stake in the proceedings. Working well within these characteristic layers, director Jonathan Berry eases out stellar performances from his exemplary cast. Berry, also, achieves a sense of warm tension throughout the evening. Thus, his choreography of the murder that ends the first act is simply done yet taut and haunting.

 

Read the full review>


REVIEW

The Mousetrap at Northlight Theatre/Review

READER RECOMMENDED

CHICAGO READER
By TONY ADLER

 

Berry and an exquisitely cast bunch of actors walk a line between the script's vast kitsch potential and Christie's very real wit to create a lovingly subversive entertainment. Joe Dempsey, Laura T. Fisher, and Lindsey Pearlman, in particular, need to win something for their sly performances as a mysterious Italian, a dour retiree ("A lot of people don't know they have dry rot"), and a red-lipped Vita Sackville-West type.

 

Read the full review>


PREVIEW

Northlight Theatre springs into Agatha Christie’s enduring mystery Mousetrap

SUN-TIMES MEDIA
By CATEY SULLIVAN

 

For Greg Matthew Anderson, Agatha Christie’s murderous thriller The Mousetrap is all about defying expectations.

 

The mystery is a masterstroke of a whodunit, a tale that laid the groundwork for everything from the “CSI” television series to the board game “Clue.”

 

As Detective Sergeant Trotter, Anderson is the show’s lynchpin, the catalyst for terror prowling among a deliciously intriguing clutch of suspects stranded one dark and stormy night in an isolated British manor. As a blinding snow and claustrophobic fear set in, Detective Trotter propels the action in a tale of murder, madness and diabolical deceit.

 

“What’s really fascinating about this play is you start out thinking you know these characters. They all seem like kind of tropes,” Anderson says. “Trotter seems kind of like Hercule Poirot, and you’re like, ‘OK, I know that guy.’ Then Christie begins ripping the rug out. You start to realize that all of these characters — you don’t know who any of them are really. It’s deeply unsettling.”

 

Read more>

PREVIEW

From murder to Madoff, 10 of fall's best plays in the suburbs

SUN-TIMES MEDIA
By CATEY SULLIVAN

 

And finally, an oldie but a definite goodie from Northlight. Agatha Christie's whodunit has been playing in London for an astonishing 62 years. Set in an English country guesthouse, it features a motley assortment of colorful suspects conveniently snowed in and unable to escape as a murderer is loose somewhere on the grounds. Jonathan Berry directs a procedural with a twist ending we wouldn't dream of disclosing (and that savvy audiences should keep to themselves as well). Read more>


Mouse Audience GuideAudience Guide

This guide is suitable for audience members of all ages. Included in The Mousetrap guide:

 

- Extended playwright profile
- A detailed synopsis
- Character descriptions
- A history of the famed London production

- A list of the top 15 mystery novels

- Rules of the whodunit genre
- Discussion questions and further reading

 

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