“The Mousetrap”

A NoHo Arts theatre review of The Group Rep’s production of “The Mousetrap” by Agatha Christie.
L-R Lareen Faye, Todd Andrew Ball, Chris Winfield, Tavish Grande, Hisato Masuyama, Peter Henry Bussian, Anica Petrovic, Alec Helton. Photo by Doug Engalla.

[NoHo Arts District, CA] – A NoHo Arts theatre review of  The Group Rep’s production of “The Mousetrap” by Agatha Christie.

What an absolute treat to see “The Mousetrap” on the 70th anniversary night of its opening in the West End. Along with 70 other productions worldwide!  This auspicious event also coincides with the 50th anniversary of the wonderful Group Rep Theatre Company…how very serendipitous!

A NoHo Arts theatre review of The Group Rep’s production of “The Mousetrap” by Agatha Christie.
L-R Todd Andrew Ball, Tavish Grade. Photo by Doug Engalla.

Of course, the productions on the main stage at the Lonny Chapman Theatre are always terrific. The sets are particularly brilliant, with the kind of attention to detail you would expect of a big downtown theatre. With a play like “The Mousetrap,” when the location plays such an important part in the story, it is truly a gift that this set is so good. 

If you are not already familiar with one of the most famous, widely performed and longest-running plays on the face of the earth, then let me give you some idea of the pleasures waiting in store for you.

“The Mousetrap” is set in the post-war English countryside.  A young couple has recently inherited a large country house, and has elected to run it as a guest house.  They have absolutely no experience and this is their opening weekend, and they are full!  As the guests arrive a snow storm sets in and cuts them off completely from the local village.  The guests are a very random group with seemingly no connection to one another. A retired judge, a retired army major, a young architect, a young woman of independent means, and a rather strange Italian gentleman ‘drop in,’ whose car hit a snow bank and is stranded. 

A NoHo Arts theatre review of The Group Rep’s production of “The Mousetrap” by Agatha Christie.
L-R Hisato Masuyama, Tavish Grade, Todd Andrew. Photo by Doug Engalla.

As they are all settling in we hear on the radio that a woman has been murdered in London and that the police are scouring the countryside for her assailant.  The following morning the phone rings and they are informed that a police Sargent is on his way to interview them all regarding the murder, and when he arrives, on skis since the roads are impassable, the real drama begins. 

A NoHo Arts theatre review of The Group Rep’s production of “The Mousetrap” by Agatha Christie.
L-R Alec Helton, Anica Petrovic. Photo by Doug Engalla.

There is a reason why “The Mousetrap” is the longest continuously running play in the West End, or anywhere else for that matter. The magic of this impossibly long run only being rudely interrupted by Covid. Thankfully, performance restarted in 2021 and they are now at over 28,000 performances in the West End alone!! 

The characters are vivid, classic and beguiling. The plot unfolds politely enough, but in every shadowy corner lurks a lie or a memory or a motive.  

The policeman seems determined to pursue every clue and unlock every alibi and the residents and their hosts circle each other, growing more and more suspicious and less and less believable. 

It’s intense…but so gorgeously English and delightfully period that it’s pure, wonderful entertainment when done as well as this production.  

I’m English, and therefore not easy to please when it comes to my native accent.  But these lovelies do a truly excellent job with it. Really, I was very impressed! They are all utterly brilliant in fact – believable, authentic, and stylishly Agatha Christie-ish. 

I love this play. The Group Rep has created a really splendid “MouseTrap” and I urge you to see it.  A classic theatre company performing a classic theatre play. Perfection!!!

Cast:

The Group Rep Cast features the talents of Todd Andrew Ball (Giles Ralston), Peter Henry Bussian (Christopher Wren), Lareen Faye (Mrs. Boyle), Tavish Grade (Mollie Ralston), Alec Helton (Sergeant Trotter), Hisato Masuyama (Mr. Paravicini), Anica Petrovic (Miss Casewell) and Chris Winfield (Major Metcalf).  Alec Anderson Carrasco (Understudy – Christopher Wren).

Production Team:

The Group Rep Production Team includes Jules Aaron (Director), Melissa Kaye Bontempt (Producer) & Kathleen Delaney (Producer), Mareli Mitchel-Shields (Set Design), Douglas Gabrielle (Lighting Design), Angela M. Eads (Costume Design), Steve Shaw (Sound Design), Doug Haverty (Graphic Design), Kristin Stancato (Online Marketing), Michael Gabiano (Social Media), Nora Feldman (Public Relations), John Ledley (Stage Manager), Paul D. Reid (Assistant to the Director), Anica Petrovic (Wig & Make-up Design), Doug Engalla (Promotional Video & Photography), Bita Arefnia (Stage Hand/Props), Linnea Ingesson (Stage Hand/Props), and Renaud Warrick (Stage Hand).

When:

October 6 – November 13

Friday and Saturday at 8 pm and Sunday matinees at 2 pm

Where:

The Group Rep at the Lonny Chapman Theatre

10900 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood, 91601

Tickets:

https://thegrouprep.com/show/the-mousetrap/

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros
Author: Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros is a Theatre and Food Writer and Filmmaker living in Los Angeles.