A game of cat and Mouse

Apollo Civic Theatre opens Agatha Christie's thriller 'The Mousetrap'

Apollo Civic Theatre opens Agatha Christie's thriller 'The Mousetrap'

March 12, 2009|By CRYSTAL SCHELLE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Agatha Christie's murderer in the Apollo Civic Theatre production of "The Mousetrap" won't be caught by a fancy DNA analysis.

Instead, director Joey Thorpe said, the whole show is solved by simple deduction. That means no special effects or crime scene investigators with their bags of tricks.

"We wanted to keep it in its time," he said. "We didn't want to make anything too technical. The play fits perfectly in the time it was made. That's where its charm and its entertainment value come from."

The Apollo Civic Theatre's production of "The Mousetrap" premieres Friday night.

"The Mousetrap" opened in 1952 at Ambassador's Theatre in London and is the country's longest-running play. In the story, a group of strangers meet in an isolated house being converted into a manor. Someone is murdered. And everyone is a suspect.


Thorpe said what has made Christie's work popular is her simple storytelling.

"What she was really good at was that she had a knack for creating stories that I think people thought were believable, truly engaged you and just kept you guessing until the end," he said.

Bob Wade of Bluemont, Va., who portrays Maj. Metcalf, said "The Mousetrap" is very much in the vein of Christie's other work. It helps too that it's all played out in front of an audience.

"It's just a lot of fun," Wade said, "and the reaction of the live audience is probably the biggest attraction for me."

Ashley Hall of Frederick, Md., portrays Mollie Ralston, who owns the manor house with husband Giles.

"I've been an Agatha Christie fan as long for as long as I can remember," she said.

Hall said Christie's plays continue to be favorites because they are classic murder mysteries. Hall said "The Mousetrap" has "wonderful plot twists" including the now-famous ending that is solved "without any technological aid."

Nader Bouberhan, of Shepherdstown, portrays Christopher Wren, the first guest to arrive in "The Moustrap." This is Bouberhan's first production of an Agatha Christie show. He said what has made Christie's plays so appealing is her suspense.

"The (killer's) identity is fairly well concealed, especially for the time," he said.

Tod Williams of Hagerstown, who portrays Mollie's husband Giles, said even those who know the ending of "The Mousetrap" should return to see it again. He likens it to rereading a good book where it can lead to discovering new meanings and nuances.

In live theater, it's a simple experience, he said. Characters are the same from production to production, but the actors in the roles are not.

"Every actor portrays a character differently," Williams said. "You never know what you're really going to see. That's the beauty of live theater."

If you go ...

WHAT: "The Mousetrap"

WHEN: 8 p.m. Fridays, March 12 and 20, and Saturdays, March 14 and 21; and 2:30 p.m. Sundays, March 15 and 22

WHERE: Apollo Civic Theatre, 128 E. Martin St., Martinsburg, W.Va.

COST: $15 for Friday and Saturday performances; $12 for Sunday matinees; $7 for students at any show

CONTACT: Call 304-263-6766 or visit

MORE: A portion of each ticket sold for the Saturday, March 14, performance will benefit Habitat for Humanity of the Eastern Panhandle.

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