The Mousetrap is the longest running show, of any kind, in the world
The Mousetrap is now in its 60th year during which time over 24,000 performances have been given. It is quite simply a great piece of theatrical history because of what it is, a whodunnit written by the greatest crime writer of all time.
Agatha Christie's thriller is the world's longest running stage play as its astonishing 60-year run has made it one of London theatre's most important institutions. Over the years there have been no fewer than 382 actors and actresses appearing in the play. Some cast members are in the Guinness Book of Records: David Raven as the 'Most Durable Actor' for 4,575 performances as Major Metcalf, and the late Nancy Seabrooke for a record-breaking 15 years as an understudy!
Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap started life as a half-hour radio play, Three Blind Mice, commissioned in 1947 in honour of the 80th birthday of Queen Mary. Loosely based upon the true story of Dennis O'Neill, a Welsh boy who died at the hands of his foster parents in 1945, the play made a short tour of Britain in 1952 before settling at the Ambassadors Theatre. The play then had to change its name due to another show called Three Blind Mice having been staged in London only a few years before.
The show is a classic whodunnit, a murder in a remote hotel cut off during a snow storm with eight eccentric characters snowed in at the guesthouse. Plenty of twists and turns and the typical red herrings will keep you guessing right until the end. Despite the history it still is a fresh dramatic play with some fine acting, a few laughs and a twist in the tale.
The Mousetrap tickets in London:
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- Don't give it away! The identity of the killer in this world-famous "whodunnit" has been one of theatreland's best kept secrets for over 60 years and, at the end of each performance, the audience is asked to help keep it that way.
"It gives audiences a chance to experience a piece of stage life lifted wholesale from the past, a piece that carries the DNA of the first performance, that has not been re-created but continuously re-enacted. Some of what is seen is the stuffiness that gives the overmaligned 50s a bad name, but it has a weird authenticity."
"This is typical of Agatha Christie. She is dismissed with tedious regularity as a mere purveyor of “animated algebra”, yet what really lies at the heart of her work is a clear-eyed understanding of the human condition, especially its baser side. She had no desire to parade that knowledge – her style is deceptively concrete – but it is there, all the time, guiding the geometry of her plots. Even in The Mousetrap."
VenueSt Martin's Theatre