Review: The Mousetrap culprit remains a secret after almost six decades

How does a play that has been running continuously for over 55 years retain the secret of “whodunit?”
Millions of people have seen it and kept mum. Queen Elizabeth II herself attended the 50th Anniversary performance in 2002. Did she and her entourage never blurt out the secret either?
Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap is currently onstage at St. Jacobs Country Play­house, perpetuating the plot to withhold the identity of the murderer. Maybe it is the armed  villain who threatens the audience to uphold the secret at the end of the show who helps retain the secret – or perhaps it is just too easy for audiences to forget.
The Mousetrap is a famous piece of theatrical history because of what it is – a “whodunit” written by one of the world’s favourite crime writers. The fascination with attempting to solve a mystery is everywhere today, though sadly lacking in subtlety.
Originally hyped as a thriller, The Mousetrap does not quite fit that bill in modern times. Nor is the play Agatha Christie’s best “whodunit.”
Amidst an exciting atmosphere at the launch of Drayton Entertainment’s 2008 season, the talented performers do their finest to make the most out of this mousetrap, and overcome the fragmented plot lines of this somewhat dated play.
A snow stormy night sets the cozy stage for the cast of colourful characters brought together to take refuge at Monkswell Manor, a new bed and breakfast outside of London. Indifferent to the recent murder of a woman in the city, the characters unfurl their stories, until their indifference is no longer feasible. The murderer is in their midst.
Suspects one and all are reticent proprietors Mollie and Giles Ralston, played effectively by Susie Burnett and Adrian Griffin. Karen Sweet gives a wonderful performance as Miss Casewell, evoking the greatest mystery while conveying her character’s depth.
Robert Latimer as Major Metcalf seems troubled by his combative past, giving David Nelgrove, as an authoritative Sergeant Trotter, much to consider. The holier-than-thou Mrs. Boyle is played so annoyingly well by Maria Heidler that the audience merely shrugs and shuffles off as the resounding thud of her body falling to the floor hails intermission.
Much needed comic relief is generously provided by Ari Weinberg as the foppish, ne’er do well young guest Chris­topher Wren, and Brian McKay as the eccentric Italian, Mr. Paravicini; both suspects in their hilariously oddball ways.
The Mousetrap was directed by Rona Waddington, new artistic and executive associate to Drayton Entertainment, who brings much evident experience with her.
After all is said and done, I bet most audience members still won’t figure out “whodunit” until all is revealed.
The Mousetrap plays eight shows a week until March 2. For tickets call 519-747-7788 or 1-888-449-4463 or visit