The Mousetrap: Whodunnit... and who’s next?

The Mousetrap - at New Theatre in Peterborough until Saturday.'Photo: Johann Persson
The Mousetrap - at New Theatre in Peterborough until Saturday.'Photo: Johann Persson

Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap has been thrilling theatre audiences for more than 60 years - and at long last a Peterborough audience got to find out why.

The whodunnit, which opened at the New Theatre last night and runs until Saturday, is classic Christie: beautifully drawn characters brought to life superbly on stage by a talented cast.

It is not the darkest or most intense murder mystery, in fact it was surprisingly light-hearted, but the suspense carries along nicely until, in time honoured tradition, the big reveal.

There has been a murder in London, we are told on the wireless, as the guests begin to arrive at Monkswell Manor Guest House, a country retreat where the piece is set.

Are they being lured there by hosts Mollie and Giles Railston (Harriett Hare and Nick Bladon)?

There is the quirky, likeable, slightly odd Christoper Wren, with a penchant for nursery rhymes - a scene-stealing performance from Lewis Chandler.

The crotchety Mrs Boyle, a real old opinionated battle axe, wonderfully portrayed by Susan Penhaligon.

What has blustering Major Metcalf (John Griffiths) got to hide? And why is the young Miss Casewell (Saskia Vaigncourt-Strallen) behaving so mysteriously?

Then unexpected guest Mr Paravacini (David Alcock) appears, a foreigner who finds amusement in everything, even murder.

They have all braved the appalling weather to get there, and with snow drifts, weather forecasts and a phone line down, they are cut off, it seems, from the outside world.

Finally police sergeant Trotter (Geoff Arnold) breaks the news that they are all in danger.... and there is a killer in their midst.

Accusations fly, lies are laid bare, secrets are unfurled and we get to find out a little more about this motley crew who would be as much at home in Fawlty Towers as the frightfully posh Monkswell Manor.

Gripping stuff.

See The Mousetrap at Peterborough New Theatre until Saturday. Tickets at www.newtheatre-peterborough.com