Village Theatre Is Caught in “The Mousetrap”

Any show that runs continuously for 60 years has to have some things to commend it. This one by Agatha Christie has been on the London stage since 1952. Then it was fresh and innovative. Brilliant marketing certainly gets much of the credit for keeping it going so long.

It’s the quintessential country-house murder mystery, one that has served as a model for numerous other modern mysteries, and probably also for the game “Clue.” You know the bones of the plot: eight people snowed in; one is murdered; who did it?

There’s also a subtheme of childhood abandonment, but it’s not a dynamic part of this good production of a rather musty old play. Even Christie didn’t have high expectations for it. She guessed it would run eight months and suggested that it didn’t hold a candle to her later play “Witness for the Prosecution.”

So given a somewhat slow, old-fashioned work, how did Village present it? They did it with a fine cast and a great set. The curtains open to a high ceilinged room that exudes the aura of British country living. It’s paneled in wood, rich woods, wainscoting everywhere you look, except where bare walls are that chintzy pinkish color so favored by the British. Portraits hang on the walls, an oriental rug lies on the floor, long draperies cover tall windows. Jason Phillips’ set and Aaron Copp’s lighting create just the scene and mood we want.

The acting, too, is good with Seattle favorites like Hana Lass, David Pichette, Jennifer Lee Taylor, R. Hamilton Wright, and others.

Christie is unquestionably one of the Queens of Crime. It’s just that some of her works are better than others.

Through Feb.24 at Francis J. Gaudette Theatre, 303 Front St. N., Issaquah, (425 392-2202, www.villagetheatre.org)
March 1-24 at Everett Performing Arts Center, 2710 Wetmore Ave., Everett, (425 257-8600)

Leave a Reply