Now in it’s 70th year. You would think audiences would have sussed out the culprit by now, but we’re still searching years after famous murder mystery The Mousetrap’s first performance in London.
Written by Agatha Christie, The Mousetrap is one of the most famous whodunnits in the world, having been enjoyed by London theatregoers since 25th November 1952.
Its central characters, gathered together in a remote corner of the countryside, discover there is a murderer in their midst. But, as ever, the question is: who did it?
Giles and Mollie Ralston run a hotel in the country, but when a snowstorm hits the area they find themselves far busier than expected. They open the doors to more guests than usual – good for business – but a phone call from the local police changes the tone. A dangerous murderer is on the loose, and all of a sudden, they can’t trust anyone.
Giles and Mollie, along with their new guests – Mrs Boyle, Christopher Wren, Miss Casewell, Major Metcalf and Mr Paravicini – spend the proceeding hours on edge, all wondering where the night will take them and if they’ll ever find the killer.
The Mousetrap is by far the longest running play in the world, opening in Nottingham on 6 October 1952 and transferring to the Ambassadors Theatre in London on 25 November, 1952.
The Mousetrap ran there until 23 March 1974, when it moved next door to the larger St Martin’s Theatre, reopening to the public on Monday 25 March. It has been playing at the St Martin’s ever since, and is a much-loved cornerstone of London’s thriving theatre scene.
So popular is The Mousetrap at St Martin’s Theatre that, according to theatrical legend, attendees of the show should always tip their taxi drivers – or risk having the ending spoiled for them!
On 18 November 2012 a special charity performance of The Mousetrap celebrated the the production’s 60th Anniversary and its 25,000th performance. The cast featured Hugh Bonneville, Patrick Stewart, Julie Walters and Miranda Hart.
During The Mousetrap’s London run, cast members have set a number of records: David Raven is noted in the Guinness Book of Records as the Most Durable Actor, an accolade he gained after giving 4,575 performances as Major Metcalfe, and Nancy Seabrooke spent a record-breaking 15 years working as an understudy on The Mousetrap.
Theatrical history was also made by having an original “cast member” survive all the years and all the cast changes since opening night. The late Deryck Guyler has technically “acted” in every show, and can still be heard, via a recording, reading the radio news bulletin in the play to this day.
Don’t miss this beloved and brilliant play in the West End.
Dramas have a rich history in the West End; find out more about plays in London.