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A thirties room and it is snowing outside. A murder and a stranger, add a red herring or three, and a whodunit lasting 50 years is the result. No mice are hurt during the run of this production.
"The Mousetrap" has detractors, due to the long run. A fresh cast at least once a year, though, keeps the play alive. The now aged setting adds a patina not probably intended by the author originally, but very welcome in the current age of overly realistic murder mysteries.
It may be known as the 'Tourist trap' and imagined by Londoners to be filled every night with baffled non-English speakers (and Londoners are such polyglots, yeah, right) but this is a play worth rediscovering and a real alternative to the endless musicals and social realistic pieces on offer elsewhere.
mportant: Some reviews below can contain "spoilers" - please don't read if this bothers you! The monkey does promise that none reveal "Whodunnit" though...
Some reviews refer to performers who have now left the cast.
My wife Laura and I realised we’d seen this show maybe 15-20 years ago. She couldn’t remember who did it, so we revisited the World’s Longest Running Show. (January 2022).
It’s just like I remembered.
It’s twee. It’s camp. It’s dated (“I say Old Man, can’t you see she’s done in” being my favourite line). And you have to remember when it was written and the attitudes of the time (the Italian gentleman is a suspect because, well, he is foreign).
But it has a charm about it. It’s a throwback to an earlier era (that set probably felt contemporary when it opened, now it’s period furniture) and kept lively by a fresh cast each year (though there are actors who - as times goes by - return playing an older character).
And curtain call - when we are now all co-conspirators and promise not to give it away (I most certainly won’t) - is worth the admission.
The Mousetrap is something of a museum piece, but it’s worth a trip to see theatre as it was once done. No pizzaz, no glitz, just a simple story, actually told rather well… just keep in mind it’s age.
Seat review: Upper Circle E1 and 2.
These seats are sold with a warning ‘very restricted legroom’. It’s an understatement. I have short legs, my wife even shorter, yet neither of us could sit facing straight on.
Avoid at all costs.
Went and saw the Mousetrap for the Matinee performance on 26th May 2009 and sat in the Dress Circle, Row A, Seat 8.
Although you feel the curve of the Dress Circle when sitting here, it is not enough to spoil the view and only cuts off a tiny slither of the right hand side of the stage. In addition, being on the aisle gives you some room to stretch out. At 5ft 8 I found that I could easily see over the balustrade, although this might be a problem for someone smaller.
We saw 'The Mousetrap' last night (5th August 2010). Row C upper circle seats 4, 5, 6 and 7. The view was very good and it didn't feel so far from the stage as upper circles in other theatres. The metal bar does cross the view at front part of the stage but it doesn't take away from the enjoyment of play. Agree leg room dreadful and had to sit sideways to allow for knees!
We've just come back from having been in the front row of the dress circle, seats A16 and A17 on 2nd September 2011.
The view might have been restricted once upon a time, but it is not, now. The view is superb. There is no balustrade to get in the way anywhere along the front.
Legroom is slightly restricted so there was a lot of seat-changing during the interval. The seats with the best legroom are in the side blocks, where some of the aisle seats have no seats in front -so there is plenty of room to stretch. Grab one, if you can, at the start of the interval: wait until the interval has finished and there will be none left.
We saw this show on Thursday 13th October 2011. We were seated in the Upper Circle, seats D1 and D2. To deal with the seats first of all - I was quite disappointed as it was very high and very steep and the bar at the front did obstruct the view somewhat (as did the some of the heads of the people on row A). My other half is 6'4" and had immense difficulty getting comfortable, in fact I don't think he managed it at all and kept fidgeting all evening (tsk!). I managed OK but it wasn't the most comfortable I've ever been.
Having read some reviews of the Mousetrap since seeing it (I didn't want to read them before we went in case of spoilers), I wish I'd read them first. My impression on leaving the theatre after the show was one of immense disappointment with a dated, tired play which could not maintain my interest. Having thought about it since, I realise that the show clearly hasn't changed since it began in the 50s and in those days, a night out in the West End would have been such a big event (not that it isn't now of course) and also, people's tastes were possibly less sophisticated then and they hadn't been spoiled with all manner of special effects etc that we have been these days. If you view it from this angle and imagine yourself to be in the 50s, I think you have a much better chance of enjoying it.
Sadly, I did not particularly rate the abilities of the current actors and it did come across as slightly "am-dram". Add into this the fact that the staff at the theatre seemed as tired as the production and not at all welcoming, plus the sad reality that the theatre was more than half-empty, it didn't make for an evening which provided the usual "West End buzz" that my partner and I are so used to having and have come to expect.
However, I think it would be a tragedy for this long-running, traditional English production to come to and end and I would urge the producers of 'The Mousetrap' to give it a re-vamp, get some big names in it and draw the audience in. I don't mean they should make it set in contemporary times or anything like that but give it some attention and stop neglecting it.
My favourite part of the show came at the end when one of the cast stepped forward and urged the audience to maintain the secret of 'The Mousetrap.' I certainly will, although I'm not sure I would want to go and see it again, sorry.
Lovely theatre, sat in G8 on the top shelf and had no sight problems at all and could hear every word.
Really enjoyed this, was not sure what to expect but it actually is very difficult to solve while watching. The current cast pull the whole thing off very well indeed and I would highly recommend this to anyone who has not seen it.
Taljaard (November 2011).
I saw "The Mousetrap" a little while ago and am totally amazed that it has lasted over fifty years. Twenty minutes into the play I was incredibly bored. By the end I was too busy thinking of other things to actually work out who did it. All I can remember is a lounge room and people sitting around talking. Was about as riveting as going to my grandmother place for afternoon tea as a child.
Needless to say, I don't recommend anyone spending good money to go and see something quite so bad... unless you have a bad case of insomnia and are looking for a cure!!
Saw "The Mousetrap" last night (30th April 2004). Enjoyed it, but have to admit I only went so that I could "cross it off my list" so to speak. I felt duty-bound to go and see something that has been running for 50 years.
Sat in row A (11 and 12) of the Upper Circle - good view but terrible leg room. Did a monkey trick in the Interval and relocated to the front stalls - the theatre was half empty - nobody seemed to notice / care.
Nice announcement by "the murderer" at the end of the curtain call as to not reveal "whodunnit!"
Saw the matinee on Tuesday 31st August 2004. Good show, I thought. All the subtleties made it good, like the slightly melodramatic acting!
We saw The Mousetrap last night (12th December 2005) and had a thoroughly good time. I'm no expert but I'd say that it was a faultless performance. We really got into it, as did others, and the 'whodunnit' chatter could be heard during the interval.
The plot is excellent with lots of little twists along the way. I can see why this show has lasted so long. I know who the culprit is now but I've been sworn to secrecy by one of the cast! I didn't guess that they'd done it but my girlfriend did.
We sat in the stalls, along with 30 or so other people. There were others sitting in the circle seats, but not many. It wouldn't have mattered if it had been just my girlfriend and I there to be honest because the ambience of the theatre is almost tangible.
I'm over six foot tall and was glad that I had booked an aisle seat although we could have sat in row G or anywhere else if we had wanted to move. My girlfriend is 5'4" and said that she could have done with a bit more legroom. I would recommend that if you get a chance reserve seats in row G.
We would highly recommend this show even if you just go there with the intention to cross it off the list. You'll be glad that you went.
I am *so* not a theatre goer. I can't help comparing plays to movies, and in that light even the biggest production invariably comes off looking like low budget fare.
The few plays I've been dragged to over the years, have either held me in a near sleep state, dreaming of ways to make my escape, or in the worst (read: artsy) cases, wishing for the "break a leg" phrase to come true for one or more of the actors.
Still, being in London for the first time and considering the extremely high regard I have for British TV actors, who I know often have theatre backgrounds, I felt almost duty bound to go see a play.
Browsing the theatre guide, my eyes fell upon the small, blue add for "The Mousetrap". Always having loved Agatha Christie's whodunnits, I figured this one something of a safe bet. Anyway, having run for over 50 years, how bad could it be?
Well, I'm very glad I chose "The Mousetrap", because not only was it the most enjoyable time I've ever spent in a theatre (admittedly not a major accomplishment), but it was thoroughly enjoyable time spent in it's own right.
Not a large production by any stretch, the single set provided everything necessary.
The cast (7th April 2006) did a brilliant job with just the right amount of overacting for what was just as much of a comedy as a murder mystery. Whether that was how it was meant to be played in the 1950s I've no idea, but it was great entertainment here and now.
I'd recommend it to anyone who are really into whodunnits. Especially those who aren't too sure about this whole theatre thing.
I sat in the Dress Circle, row C (seat 10) to watch Theatreland's most famous production. Plenty of leg room ensured no aching legs, however I was unlucky enough to have someone 6ft plus sat in front of me. As a result part of the stage was obscured, but this did not spoil the enjoyment.
I don't want to give anything away especially as you are requested at the finale not to reveal the identity of the murderer to any person who hasn't seen The Mousetrap.
I will however state that the actors who took part in this production were fantastic, especially the actor who took the part of Christopher Wren who was extremely entertaining.
Go and see "The Mousetrap", no visit to Theatreland whilst in London is complete without going to see it.
16th November 2007:
The cast make a good job of it but its not exactly a great play as its longevity would suggest. It has enough charm to fill the first act and the second enjoys sending you down the wrong paths, twisting and turning until the final Revelation - which you wont see coming but then also won't ever truly "care" about.
However its the experience as a whole - the utterly charming wooden theatre, the clockwork presentation of the piece and the entrance into the "club" (of both being a part of this historical play and knowing the ending) that makes it a wonderful cultural and historical experience, rather than a dramatic one. Its almost a museum to post war theatre. In short;
"It exists in celebration of its own continued existence"
Seat information I've gathered from 1995 and 2003 (approx):
Mousetrap seats: they are all cramped and wooden with little leg room and certainly no width; and their sweeping arch means its a gamble if you get legroom due to the seat in front being curved.
The View from Row B aisle of upper circle was surprisingly the best of my 3 visits and was VERY cheap - though I was glad to be able to swing my leg into the aisle, and then swapped with the man on the other side for the interval so both legs got a stretch - worked for us both. The height gives it a slightly grander view and allows you to see the character rather than the actor - (which in something so full of stereotypes - lets you know where you stand)
The rear Dress Circle was god awful - no decent rake, no leg room and very stuffy.
The front centre stalls had better leg room, and you were right in the thick of it, but somehow, seeing the actors so clearly took away from my enjoyment of this show - Up close it all looks more real and as such its downfalls are magnified and you don't get the period feel with modern faces; from a height its almost time travel, as though your looking down on a show from 50 years ago.
Matinees are packed with school - however school kids can control themselves in this sort of play in a way they clearly can not when watching something interactive and thrilling like the "Woman in Black".
PS- the total weight of those tiny ice cream pot over the years equates to just under two and a half 747 jumbo jets!
Took my sophisticated 12-year-old daughter to this and she loved it! Wildly dated but still fun and the ending is a great surprise. She’s telling all her friends to go.
Sat in Upper Circle F3 and 4 which are directly under massive fan – before we expired of hypothermia, we were all allowed to move forward because the theatre was half empty (a popular Monkey ploy, I think I remember). We ended up in A 8 and 9. The bar didn’t prevent us from seeing anything relevant in this production.
But if you were ever to add a section for recommended seats for menopausal women prone to hot flushes, F 3 and 4 and the equivalent on the other side of the aisle are probably more efficient than HRT...
14 November 2009
Bought tickets online for 'The Mousetrap' - great show, but thought I would share my thoughts on the seats I bought.
Seats D5 and D6 in the Upper Circle - paid £25 online but actually could buy for £20 at the theatre - if you buy one week in advance there is plenty of availability.
The seats had NO legroom and I am only 1.72 m (5' 8"). Good view and could hear everything. The biggest problem was the heat. Everyone was peeling off layers, since the ceiling fan is only on before the show and during intervals. Would not buy these seats again. Noticed that Row A had much more legroom but restricted view with safety bar.
The monkey advises checking performance times on your tickets and that performances are happening as scheduled, before travelling.
Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm
Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 3pm and 7.30pm
Runs 2 hours 15 minutes approximately.
Theatres use "dynamic pricing." Seat prices change according to demand for a particular performance. Prices below were compiled as booking originally opened. Current prices are advised at time of enquiry.
Tuesday to Thursday "off peak" dates
Friday and Saturday and "peak dates"
As at June 2021: Available 24 hours in advance online at www.the-mousetrap.co.uk or by phone on 020 7836 1443 during box office hours 10am to 7.30pm only. Outside these times, or when busy, they may not be sold by the ticket agency who answer.
App TodayTix offer £20 "Rush tickets" for all performances. Released for the performance on that day, first-come, first-served. Download the App from Todaytix, unlock the "Rush Ticketing" feature by sharing on Facebook or Twitter, and that will allow you to buy tickets.
Usually: A very limited number in row A are available to personal callers at the box office before the performance on the day from 10.30am, priced £19.52 each. Limited to a maximum of 2 tickets per person. From 10.30am. Credit or Debit cards only must be used in payment. Those aged 16 to 18 without cards may provide proof of age and other Photo I.D. instead. Everybody else is required to use a card, to prevent unauthorised ticket re-selling. Check with the box office before travelling if this policy is still in operation.