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Review: The Mousetrap keeps audiences guessing

Was it the giddy, supposed architect? The odd 'came from nowhere' Italian? See if you can figure out whodunnit at The Mousetrap, playing now at Walterdale Theatre.
Cast of The Mousetrap, now playing at Walterdale Theatre. Photo: Henderson Images.

Whatever our age, and however old the play, people love a good whodunnit, don't they? Judging by the sold-out run of Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap at Walterdale Theatre, that's still the case. 

And it's with good reason: The Mousetrap recently celebrated its 70th anniversary, and is the longest-running stage play of all time: Pretty good credentials, and reason enough to take in the latest from Edmonton's favourite community theatre. Well-crafted characters? Check. Hidden clues, twists and turns? Check and check. They don't call Christie the Queen of Mystery for nothing!

In fact, it's hard to go wrong with an Agatha Christie work. Said to be outsold only by Shakespeare and The Bible, Agatha Christie remains the best-selling novelist of all time. She is best known for her 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections and, of course, The Mousetrap.

In The Mousetrap, we find ourselves at Monkswell Manor in the middle of a snowstorm. Someone has just been murdered in nearby London, and as guests arrive at the newly-opened country guesthouse, we slowly learn each has a possible connection to the case. Can this group discover who the murderer is, before it's too late?

Though there are red herrings and concealed clues that make it hard to guess the outcome (for me, at least), there's fun in trying. (And once you know who the murderer is, don't tell your fellow theatre-going friends: let them enjoy unravelling the mystery themselves).

The Walterdale's artistic director Lauren Tamke directs this fan favourite, and the eight-member cast is well-invested with the sometimes-drawn-out proceedings (two acts, well over two hours), as Sergeant Trotter (Evan Makowecki) interviews each character to crack the case.

Christoff Lundgren and Erika Holba are the hapless guesthouse hosts, Giles and Mollie Ralston. Then there's Major Metcalf (Erik Einsiedel), the universally-disliked Mrs. Boyle (Wylee Johnston), the young Miss Casewell, (Kaitlynn Wansink) and the gleeful Mr. Paravicini (Bradley Bishop).  Paravicini and Christopher Wren (Patrick Maloney) bring some lightness and laughter to the guesthouse; they're a needed respite from the all-too gloomy happenings. But to be fair, there's been a murder--gloomy is understandable.

Kudos to one of the best set builders in town, Richard Hatfield, who always creates just the right backdrop for players to bring a Walterdale show to life. This one is no exception--love the staircase!

Advance tickets for The Mousetrap are all sold out, but some tickets will be available at the door. The Mousetrap runs through Feb. 18. See for more information.