The Ralstons, a newlywed couple, are hosting a handful of snowed-in visitors the newly opened Monkswell Manor guesthouse. Most of the people are content to stay the night until they find out their manor is going to be investigated in connection with a recent murder. These boarders attempt secrecy, reveal pasts and share suspense as the investigation deepens.
Jessica Pearce and Gary Reimer play Mollie and Giles Ralston, the couple that opened the inn-like Monkswell Manor that day. Initially, both actors do show both forced and sappy chemistry as a couple within the play, as was expected of 1950’s British couples, but individually gain more depth as the story moves along.
The boarders, while adding to the general suspense of The Mousetrap, seem to provide most opportunity for comic relief. Characters like Christopher Wren and Paravicini prove the most eccentric of the guests—even with obvious stereotyping.
Graham Ward was a particular standout with his portrayal of Wren, a guest with a peculiarly cheerful fascination with the macabre. He is able to lead the audience through both light and dark moments in the play even though his presence is less primary.
The British accents are about as much as you could expect from Americans trying to convey one, but they are hardly enough to distract from the presentation of this fascinating mystery play. However, younger viewers may find the extensive conversation within the play a bit boring.
The interest goes beyond the characters and into Monkswell Manor itself. The set is of a very high quality and the details create a complete vision of the house even though only one room is shown throughout the play’s entirety. This showcased an elemental technical detail that, in addition to the already nearly flawless sound and costume effects, created an extremely appealing production.
Come to The Mousetrap and solve this classic mystery yourself. The play runs Sept. 10-18 at the Covey Center for the Arts.
For more information, visit www.CoveyCenter.org or call 801-852-7007.