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Potomac Theatre Company The Mousetrap

By • Mar 23rd, 2011 • Category: Reviews
The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie
Potomac Theatre Company
Blair Family Center for the Arts, Potomac, MD
Through March 27th
2:30 with one intermission
$20/$18 Seniors and Children
Reviewed March 19th, 2011

The Mousetrap is a murder mystery by Agatha Christie. It was a dark and snowy night in an isolated guesthouse. A murder is committed many miles away. Most of the people stranded in the inn have an alibi or no apparent connection to the victim. But is what you see and hear really the truth?

Natalie McManus played Mollie Ralston, one of the owners and proprietors of Monkswell Manor (or rather Monkwell Manor per the poster to be displayed on the outside of the door). McManus was well cast as the somewhat harried cook, owner, welcoming committee, and complaint receiver. McManus seemed to genuinely care about the needs of her guests and making sure their stay was indeed pleasant. Mollie’s husband Giles was played by Joseph Bissex. The two were well cast, despite an occasional lack of chemistry between the newlyweds. Bissex’s short temper was balanced by McManus’s wish to please and placate to create a more harmonious environment which Bissex’s character did not always care about.

Capable Detective Sargeant Trotter was played by Tony Pisarro and the mysterious unexpected guest Mr. Paravicini played by Marc Rehr appeared on top of things all the way. The woman who seemed to take delight in complaining was Mrs. Boyle played by Mellicent Singham. Snobby with a capital “T” Singham seemed to carry a chip on her shoulder the the size of Texas. Good blocking by director Barry Hoffman allowed for Mrs. Boyle to always enter a room and be noticed. The scenes between Mrs. Ralston and Mrs. Boyle were very well performed as they would face off against each other. Karen Winokur as Miss Casewell was very effective, especially her sarcasm upon being questioned by Detective Trotter. Brian Dettling as the agreeable Major Metcalf was a bit too forgettable, a bit more grander presence would have made the character stronger and more interesting.

The most quirky character by far was Christopher Wren, played superbly by Sam Hauslohner. Overly dramatic was an understatement. His character was that of a puppy who liked to be scratched behind his ears. He was a delight to experience. All of the characters were well cast and seemed able to create the right Agatha Christie air that made for a realistic evening.

The technical aspects of the show ran smoothly. The theatre is a large space, but the vision of Set Designer John Buckley made good use of the walls with multiple cast entrances and exits. The off-stage radio announcers Lawrence Peters and Shanker Singham had their cues right on time to add more clues to keep the audience guessing. The large radio and style of dresses by the women gave it a 1954 feeling, although this mystery also has a sense of timelessness about it. Really the only thing missing was visible snowflakes falling outside the large windows.

A well performed who-done-it that will keep you guessing until the dramatic end.

Cast

  • Mollie Ralston: Natalie McManus
  • Giles Ralston: Joseph Bissex
  • Christopher Wren: Sam Hauslohner
  • Mrs. Boyle: Mellicent Singham
  • Major Metcalf: Brian Dettling
  • Miss Casewell: Karen Winokur
  • Mr. Paravicini: Marc Rehr
  • Detective Sergeant Trotter: Tony Pisarra

Crew

  • Director/Producer: Barry Hoffman
  • Production Stage Manager: Tammi T. Gardner
  • Scenic Design: John Buckley
  • Lighting Design: Joseph Wallen
  • Sound Design: Jeff Kellum
  • Sound Consultant: Eleanor B. Dicks
  • Props & Set Dressing: Sonya Okin
  • Light Operator: Chris Kondrat
  • Sound Operator: Jeff Kellum
  • Radio Announcers: Lawrence Peters, Shanker Singham
  • Dialect Coach: Siobhan King
  • “Three Blind Mice” Recording: Nan Muntzing
  • Set Construction Supervisor: John Buckley
  • Set Construction: John Buckley, Ray Durante, Steve Deming, Robert Boughman, Alan Beck, Bill Keysar, Jose Gonzalez, Elie & Ted Cain
  • Photographer: Harvey Levine
  • Publicity: Suzi Hoffman, Nan Muntzing, Marilyn Shockey
  • House Manager: Elie Cain
  • Playbill: Marilyn Shockey

Disclaimer: Potomac Theatre Company provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

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