Home Community Classic Murder Mystery “The Mousetrap” At Palm Desert’s

Classic Murder Mystery “The Mousetrap” At Palm Desert’s

Jack Lyons Theatre & Film Critic
Jack Lyons Theatre & Film Critic

The play written by Agatha Christie, which opened in November of 1952, is billed as the longest, continuously running play in theatre history.  If I do the math correctly that’s sixty-one years.  That’s a lot of performances.  I shudder when I think back to the first time I saw “The Mousetrap”.  It was in London in 1953.  It was considered one of the hottest show in the West End, and if I do the math again, that’s sixty years ago!  Time really does fly.

If you’ve never seen a performance of this classic murder mystery with its dialogue and its plot twists, you can remedy that by attending a performance at the Arthur Newman Theatre, in Palm Desert.

Directed by Lance Phillips-Martinez, with a nice functional set and costumes by Ron Phillips-Martinez, and a lighting design (clever lighting is must for murder-mystery’s) by the reliable Doug Ridgeway, audiences are transported back in time to an English manor house just 30 miles from London during the early 1950’s.

: (from left) Briana Taylor, Luke Rainey, Hal O’Connell, Don Cilluffo, and Shawn Abramowitz – (center) Stephen McMillen -PHOTO CREDIT (Courtesy of Kat Anderson)
: (from left) Briana Taylor, Luke Rainey, Hal O’Connell, Don Cilluffo, and Shawn Abramowitz – (center) Stephen McMillen -PHOTO CREDIT (Courtesy of Kat Anderson)

The play where ‘murder most foul’ takes place opened Friday, November 1st at the Arthur Newman Theatre.  When the plot and dialogue begins to heat up, some of the English accents employed by the seven American actors in the company become a bit wobbly.  But, let’s just chalk that up to opening night jitters.  On the other hand, the dialogue volume between the characters could have benefited from director Phillips-Martinez’s intervention if he, perhaps, had orchestrated and modulated their deliveries for tone and volume (less shouting at one another).  When actors begin to speak at the top their vocal ranges, there is usually little room left for character growth and nuanced performances.  Besides, the Newman Theatre is a comfortable medium-size venue and there’s little need for vigorous projecting.

The above being said, “The Mousetrap” still has some nice moments, just not enough of them.  However, there are nice individual turns from the ensemble cast: Shawn Abramowitz as Giles and Ashley Hernandez as Molly his wife, the owners of Monkwell Manor, the site where all the action in the play takes place.

From Luke Rainey as manor guest Wren, a troubled young man with problems; Alden West as Mrs. Boyle, another guest at Monkwell who leaves the proceedings all to soon, but before she goes she is spot on with her British accent throughout.    Guest Hal O’Connell as Major Metcalf looks quite comfy with his cane and his accent; Briana Taylor as Miss Casewell the odd and aloof guest at the manor; Don Cilluffo, as the mysterious Mr. Paravicini, who claims his automobile crashed into a snow drift and is just waiting at the manor for assistance, and Stephen McMillen as Detective Sergeant Trotter who conducts the interrogation of the manor guests following the murder of Mrs. Boyle.

Even when the creaky plot and text show cracks from the aging process the underlying truth and portrayals continue to resonate; validating Christie’s work, which remains intact.

“The Mousetrap” runs at the Arthur Newman Theatre through November 10th.  Call 760-980-1455for reservations and information.

Must Read

DARK IRISH COMEDY STAGED AT THE HOLLYWOOD FRINGE FESTIVAL

If you thought the American Civil War (1861- 1865)  would still be an emotional hot button issue between Northerners and Southerners 154 years after it...

DESERT ROSE PLAYHOUSE LAUNCHES THE ENTERTAINING CAMP COMEDY MUSICAL “RUTHLESS”

Desert Rose Playhouse of Rancho Mirage premieres a glitzy, glamorous, hilarious musical comedy production of the campy homage to Hollywood’s tortured, driven, divas of...

GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE LAUNCHES WORLD PREMIERE THRILLER “MYSTERIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES”

Sherlock Holmes, the world’s greatest fictitious private consulting detective sprang from the fertile brain of English writer Arthur Conan Doyle in 1887. Two years...

Advisory Council Considers Bringing Back Long-Banned Fishing Gear

SAN DIEGO – Conservation and sportfishing groups will pack a meeting Thursday of the Pacific Fishery Management Council in San Diego to try to...

18TH CENTURY FEMINIST COMEDY “LADIES” ON STAGE AT BOSTON COURT THEATRE OF PASADENA

Sometime it’s difficult to assign a genre to a play.  Is it a drama or is it a comedy or is it a little...
%d bloggers like this: