Why Should You See 'The Mousetrap' At St Martin's Theatre?

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The Mousetrap is the world's longest running theatrical production and has become something of a British institution. Agatha Christie’s quintessentially British ‘whodunnit’ follows a thrilling murder investigation examining all of the evidence and vetting all of the suspects before the murderer is eventually and shockingly revealed as the play concludes. Agatha Christie's play at the St Martin's Theatre has become part of the fabric of the West End  — since opening all the way back in 1952!

Generations of theatregoers have been both thrilled and shocked by the events that happen at Monkswell Manor, so whether you’re a first time visitor to the West End wanting to discover its classic shows, or a seasoned professional theatregoer wanting to see every production in London, The Mousetrap needs to be very much on your 'to do' list.

Here's our detailed guide on all things 'Mousetrap', from how to get tickets to when is best to to see the show.

What is the play, The Mousetrap all about?

Five new guests arrive at the newly-opened Monkswell Manor hotel in Berkshire for a relaxing holiday break.  The remote location of the hotel leaves group finding themselves isolated during a fierce blizzard, stuck indoors and are left with no option but to speak to one another.

After a period of time and to their surprise, Detective Sergeant Trotter arrives at the hotel and informs the hotel guests of a nearby murder — claiming that they are all now suspects. All of the guests are questioned and seem to qualify and fit the description of the murderer, especially after characters start to reveal their shady pasts. One by one, the guests and hotel owners get whittled down until eventually the murderer is shockingly revealed.

As it would ruin the play to reveal the name of the dastardly killer here, we’re going to end The Mousetrap synopsis here so you'll have to see the production to get the full picture and discover the identity of the murderer.

Which theatre does The Mousetrap play at?

The Mousetrap is the most famous Agatha Christie play in London and is the resident production at St. Martin’s Theatre. The long running production began its record-breaking run in the West End at the Ambassadors Theatre back in 1952, before moving to the St. Martin’s Theatre in 1974, where it’s been showcasing ever since.

How long is The Mousetrap play?

The duration of The Mousetrap play is 2 hours and 20 minutes which includes an interval of 15 minutes.

What days does The Mousetrap play?

The Mousetrap has nine performances every week at St. Martin’s Theatre. Matinee performances of the play are at 3pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Evening performances are every day from Monday to Saturday at 7:30pm.

When was the premiere of The Mousetrap?

The Mousetrap originated as a 1947 radio play titled 'Three Blind Mice.' Agatha Christie had written the story for Queen Mary's 80th birthday and after some extensive reworking 'Three Blind Mice' became 'The Mousetrap' and was adapted for the stage and a live audience.

Although The Mousetrap found fame in the West End and is often considered to be one of its greatest plays, the production didn’t actually start out in the capital. The premiere of The Mousetrap was held at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal on October 6th, 1952. and then went on to play to regional audiences in Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester, and Birmingham, before finally arriving at the Ambassadors Theatre in London on November 25th, 1952.

The original production of The Mousetrap has never closed since opening in London. After opening in 1952, the play ran continuously at the Ambassadors Theatre until March 23rd, 1974, before making the short move and reopening at the nearby St. Martin’s Theatre on March 25th, 1974 and never missed a performance.

Who wrote the play, The Mousetrap?

The Mousetrap was written by Agatha Christie. The famous crime writer was awarded a damehood for services to literature and is sometimes referred to as the “queen of crime.”  Christie wrote 66 novels during her career featuring colourful and much loved characters such as Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot who appear in famous novels as well as movie and TV adaptations of her work.

There are actually two Agatha Christie plays currently showcasing in London? As well as The Mousetrap, London County Hall is the atmospheric venue and setting for the equally tense and thrilling courtroom drama, 'Witness for the Prosecution' which follows the fortunes of Leonard Vole as he stands trial for murder and must attempt to prove his innocence.

A monument to Agatha Christie was erected in her honour and dedicated to her as a testament to her popularity and incredible career and and can be found on Cranbourn Street.

Who are the characters in The Mousetrap?

One of these characters listed below is the infamous Mousetrap murderer, but you’ll need to see the play to find out who!

Christopher Wren – Wren is the first of the guests to arrive at Monkswell Manor. He is named after the world famous designer of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Watch out for some tell-tale give-aways and interesting behaviour as he interacts with the other guests. Perhaps his shifty and unusual actions be come as a result of hiding something?
Mrs Boyle – Mrs Boyle is another guest at Monkswell Manor. She complains constantly about everything and struggles to relax and get comfortable. During her career, she has sent many children away to live with foster parents. Could that possibly be the reason why she’s constantly on edge and agitated?
Major Metcalf – Major Metcalf is retired from the army, but continues to behave in a strict military fashion wherever he goes. Perhaps this is hiding something and offers reasons to be suspicious?
Miss Casewell – Miss Casewell is a masculine woman who doesn’t let on too much about her personal life or upbringing and as a result, the other guests are suspicious of her.
Mr Paravicini – Mr Paravicini arrives at Monkswell Manor during the blizzard, but why would he drive all the way up to a manor with no luggage? This too raises eyebrows from the other guests.
Detective Sergeant Trotter – The detective arrives to investigate the murder which has taken place near Monkswell Manor. After arrives at the guest house on skis, he guides the hotel guests through the events. But does he have their best interests at heart and will he actually protect the guests?
Mollie Ralston – Mollie is the owner of Monkswell Manor along with her husband, Giles Ralston. The newly married couple  inherited the manor from Mollie’s aunt and transformed the property into a guest house. Is their business inexperience about to catch up with them?
Giles Ralston – Giles co-owns Monkswell Manor with Mollie, but is jealous of all the attention that Mollie gets from all the guests.

The history of The Mousetrap 

The Mousetrap is the longest-running play of all time and has enjoyed many historic milestone moments.

25th November 1952 – First performance of the play at the Ambassadors Theatre.
22nd April 1955 – The production plays its 1,000th performance at the Ambassadors Theatre.
13th September 1957 – The Mousetrap becomes the longest-running play ever in the West End.
12th April 1958 – The Mousetrap becomes the longest-running show ever to appear in the West End.
25th March 1974 – The Mousetrap transfers to the nearby St. Martin’s Theatre.
17th December 1976 – The Mousetrap plays its 10,000th performance.
16th December 2000 – The Mousetrap celebrates an incredible 20,000th performances.
25th November 2002 – Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh attend 50th anniversary of The Mousetrap.
18th November 2012 – The Mousetrap celebrates 25,000 performances with a special star-studded cast, including Patrick Stewart, Julie Walters, Tamsin Greig, Harry Lloyd, Hugh Bonneville, Nicholas Farrell, Iain Glen, and Miranda Hart.

Fun facts about The Mousetrap play

Agatha Christie had no faith in the longevity of the play and thought it would only run for a few months before audiences would stop visiting.
One of the original cast members, Mysie Monte played the role of Mrs Boyle from the opening night until November 1967, racking up over 12 years of performances.
Believe it or not, there is actually an original cast member still in The Mousetrap! Deryck Guyler still voices the news broadcast which is heard on the radio during the play.
The set of The Mousetrap has been changed just three times during the record breaking run. The only prop that has survived from 1952 is the clock that sits above the fireplace.
Agatha Christie’s grandson Mathew Pritchard was given the rights to the play as a ninth birthday present. Using royalties from the rights to the play, Pritchard later set up the Colwinston Charitable Trust in 1995 which distributes the royalties to performing organisations.

How to get tickets to The Mousetrap 

The world’s longest-running play, The Mousetrap is a 'must see' when you are in London and with great midweek availability is a very good option for those looking for lastminute theatre tickets Come and be a part of theatre history and visit St. Martin’s Theatre to see the world's longest running and most famous play, The Mousetrap. Tickets to The Mousetrap are available now and are available either online through Theatretickets-London.co.uk or from the box office at the theatre.

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