Volume 96, Issue 3

Thursday, June 6, 2002
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Who ever said racial stereotypes aren't funny?

Katana Kafe tries to take flight

12 Questions

Hand of God touches Katzenjammer Deli

Mousetrap sure to catch audience's laughter

So good it's Blackalicious!

Mousetrap sure to catch audience's laughter

The Mousetrap
Travis Bailie, Anne-Marie Caicco, Jayson McDonald
Directed by: Brian March and Barbara Metcalf

By Maggie Wrobel
Gazette Staff

Everyone loves a good mystery and Agatha Christie was arguably the queen of mysteries.

Thankfully, London's Theatre Soup production company does Christie proud with its production of The Mousetrap by adding its own unique, comic flair to the classic mystery.

Gazette File Photo

The play is set in the shadowy Monkswell Manor in the middle of a snowstorm. Fortunately, the relatively tiny set is a marvel of authenticity due to props such as a 1950s radio. Due to the intimate surroundings of the Black Lodge, the audience is quite close to the action, which is a refreshing change from gazing at the stage from the distance of larger theatres.

The action surrounds a young married couple named Giles (Travis Bailie) and Mollie Ralston (Anne-Marie Caicco) who have just opened a guest house in an old home they inherited from Mollie's aunt.

This venture attracts several interesting characters, including the flamboyant Christopher Wren (Jayson McDonald), the intimidating Mrs. Boyle (Virginia Pratten), the androgynous Miss Casewell (Sue Mei) and others.

The play gets off to a comical start while all of the characters try to get used to each other's personalities. Jayson McDonald's comic work is a standout, as he wins Mollie Ralston – and the audience – over with his flamboyant gestures and suggestive language.

As the characters realize that they are snowed in at Monkswell Manor, word gets out via the radio about a murderer who has been spotted in the area. From this point on, the characters are pulled into a web of suspicion and danger.

The arrival of detective Trotter (played expertly by Christopher Kevill) adds even more tension to the already wary household.

The production fully transforms from comedy to mystery in the second act with great use of lighting and music – the latter including a creepy piano version of a children's nursery rhyme that becomes important to the action in the play.

The performances are mostly impressive with the only distraction being that, although the characters are all supposed to be British, none of them actually speak with a British accent. Those who attempt one pick it up and drop it from scene to scene.

Also confusing is the supposedly Italian Paravacini, whose accent is unbelievable and at times even aggravating. Despite this setback, Goodwin does a fine job with many of his comic lines, particularly those that are asides. The employment of a dialogue coach would have likely helped this talented cast shine even brighter.

However, the intimate setting, fine set, props and outstanding acting performances definitely make The Mousetrap a production worth catching.

Theatre Soup's production of The Mousetrap runs Jun. 5-8 and 13-15 at 8 p.m. at The Black Lodge (in the Galleria Mall). Tickets are $12 at the door. For information and reservations call 433-SOUP.

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Copyright The Gazette 2002