"...Everyone Is Entitled To My Opinion." ~Madonna

Saturday, July 16, 2011

THEATER: The Mousetrap

Agatha Christie’s THE MOUSETRAP,  playing at Millbrook Playhouse, is worth the trip to Mill Hall.

This is one of the best versions that I have seen of this popular play.

The show is exceptionally well directed by Kate Pines; it moves quickly, each character is defined, the humor is actually funny, the timing is good, and the suspense is--yes, suspenseful.

If you saw Love, Sex, and the IRS you saw only a portion of the talents of Brett Epstein, Eileen Glenn, Alexander Taylor Mace, Allison Jordon, and Nicholas Wilder. It amazes me that all of them could be playing silly farcical roles while rehearsing more serious roles in a Christie play.
Nicholas Wilder as Detective Trotter (standing)
and Richard Guido Mr. Paravicini (seated)

Nicholas Wilder got rid of the dress from last week’s Love, Sex and the IRS to play Detective Sergeant Trotter this week, a part with more undertones. He did it with conviction! This week Allison Jordon is the masculine Miss Casewell and given an opportunity for a well done dramatic scene at the end of the play. In fact, if I had not seen their names in the program; I would not have recognized them.

It also took me a while to identify Alexander Taylor Mace. He does an excellent job of keeping in the background as Major Metcalf. Brett Epstein, once again, almost steals the show. This time he is a very disturbed young man, Christopher Wren, who may enjoy the idea of murder just a little too much.

Brett Epstein as Christopher Wren
and Ali Kresch as Mollie Ralston
Richard Guido has been in quite a few Millbrook plays over the years and it was good to see him in a role that seemed to suit him. His Mr. Paravicini is just the right amount of “something rather phony”.

The newly weds, Mollie and Giles Ralston, were played by Ali Kresch and David Jackson. It may have been noted that I am a member of the local Ali Kresch fan club. This season she has come into her own as an actress. She and David did such convincing job that several people near me were sure that one of them “did it”.

The Mousetrap is one of my favorite plays.  In fact, I judge all mystery writers against Christie. It was first produced in 1952 in the West End of London and is still going strong; that’s over 24.000 performances. Christie would not allow it to be published in book form in England as long as the plat was running. It has been published in the United States in an anthology under the title Three Blind Mice.

Millbrook’s production is fresh and vibrant. Taking a play that has a long history and making it seem new is a tribute to the talents of any group.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee will open on the Main Stage at Millbrook on July 21st. Because this is a show of ad-libs, it will be fun to compare it to Boal Barn’s version. Can’t wait!

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