The Mousetrap: When 1950s theatre came all the way to India

I was in London a couple of months back and I really wanted to watch The Mousetrap and experience Witness for the Prosecution. You know, the best activities for someone who spent their entire teenage years reading Agatha Christie and P.D. James. Ticket and time availability–or lack thereof–foiled my plans, though.

So imagine my happiness when exactly two months later, The Mousetrap India Tour started! I watched it yesterday and I just can’t stop talking about it.

The Mousetrap begins with young couple Mollie and Giles who have just started a guest house in Monkswell Manor. Their first set of guests are rather peculiar characters. When they find out there’s a killer on the loose, they all behave like they’ve got something to hide–even the hosts. Whether or not the killer is identified before a murder or more occurs forms the rest of the story.

Having already read the play 10 years back, I remembered almost everything about it. I probably would have enjoyed it even more if I didn’t remember much, but it was still delightful to watch nonetheless.

Perhaps my favourite part about the play was that the 1950s English theatre experience had travelled all the way to my corner of the world. Who knew I’d hear the clipped accents of the British upper class in a Chennai school’s auditorium?

The actors did a fantastic job and it showed that they’ve been doing this for quite some time now. Sarah Whitlock, as Mrs. Boyle, particularly shined through as the testy former magistrate. Millie Turner as Miss Casewell was an absolute delight, both on and off-stage (oui oui, not-so-subtle flex that we met AND she and I faked a candid picture for the photographer too).

Reading The Mousetrap as a teenager, I was completely enthralled. I worshipped Christie and this play seemed out of the world to me then. As an adult, however, the ending felt a little contrived. Nonetheless, this is a classic whodunnit which would have been killer in its day. Every Christie fan should definitely try to catch this one live!

Oh, and did I tell you we met the cast?

We met the cast.

10 years back, when I first read this book, I never imagined I’d be seeing it performed onstage. I’m so happy they brought The Mousetrap all the way to India and I’ll probably be screaming about it for years to come.

~ Shruti

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