Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Annandale High School The Mousetrap

By • Dec 14th, 2010 • Category: Cappies

The detective paces around the room, twirling his hair as snow continues to accumulate outside. Six suspects sit, guilty looks plastered across their faces, as he questions them, growing increasingly frustrated with their circumlocutory manner of response. One of these people is a psychopathic murderer. The others are potential victims, and the minutes are winding down to someone’s inevitable demise.

The weekend, Annandale High School performed The Mousetrap, a murder mystery written by Agatha Christie. This play originally premiered in London in 1952 and has been running continuously since then. It is the longest running play in history, with more than 24,000 performances to date.

The story begins with a young couple, Giles and Mollie Ralston, who have started running a guesthouse in a converted manor. The guests arrive, along with a detective investigating a recent murder in London who has evidence the killer will strike again at the manor. Before long, one of the guests is killed, and those who remain are unable to leave because of a raging snowstorm.

Tori Gowland played the charming protagonist as wife and hostess Mollie Ralston. From the moment she walked onstage, she exuded elegance with her perfect posture and crisp diction. From loving and tender to conflicted and suspicious, Gowland portrayed a wide range of complex emotions with grace, using body language and facial expressions to convey the character’s internal struggle. Her commanding performance was integral to the cohesiveness of the show.

Though the play was dramatic, the mélange of eccentric characters brought an element of comedy to the otherwise haunting plot. The flamboyance of Christopher Wren (B. J. Odom) and Mr. Paravacini (Elliot Kiemel) illuminated each scene with their comedic prowess. Odom played a bizarre yet lovable young man with a propensity towards lying and snooping. His over-the-top movements and quick wit had the entire audience laughing. Kiemel, with his nearly flawless Italian accent, was equally entertaining as the uninvited guest who finds the tension of murder incredibly amusing.

As a whole, the technical aspects of the show were aesthetically pleasing. The set was fantastic with antiquated wood tables and forest green walls giving it the feel of the perfect winter getaway. The costumes were well-constructed and impeccably fit the 1940’s style. Although some props seemed out of place in the time period, most of them, especially the paintings on the walls and the flowers on the tables, added to the ambiance of the scene. The technical crew’s commitment to detail was clear, especially when the characters came in with their shoulders and hair dusted with fake snow.

With powerful acting and meticulous attention to detail, Annandale’s performance of The Mousetrap had the members of the audience constantly on the edge of their seats.

by Samantha Schipani of Thomas Jefferson High School

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