by Rebecca Rhodes
“Three blind mice, three blind mice. See how they run, see how they run.” How fast can you run to see the Actor’s Guild of Parkersburg present Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap”?
“The Mousetrap” is in its 63rd consecutive year making it the world’s longest running play. However, the Actor’s Guild production will run until September 25.
Once settled in the cozy theater, you are met with the notes of Duke Ellington and Sidney Bechet; automatically transporting you to the 1940’s era. Suddenly, the lights go out, and Ellington is replaced with the sound of footsteps on a wet London alleyway. A blood curtailing scream later, you are immersed in the mystery/thriller.
Over the radio, an announcer states there was a murder. The suspect is wearing a dark overcoat, light colored scarf and felt hat.
First, enters Mollie Ralston (Jamie Belle Meckley). She and her husband Giles, played by Eli Tracewell, have started a guest house in Monkswell Manor. It is the young couple’s first day welcoming four guests into the Manor.
From the opening curtain, detail is drawn from the set. The Monkswell Manor set design by Rod Oden, Dave Prather, Dave Schiemann and Larry Deem is complete with towering brown walls, hidden stairwells and victorian furniture.
Christopher Wren is the first guest to knock on Monkswell’s door. Cole Mazaher gives a brilliant performance as the almost psychotic architect. Not only does Mazaher instill fear in the audience with hints at schizophrenia, but he draws sighs of sympathy for the boy without a mother.
Joining Wren onstage are Mrs. Boyle (Stephanie Winland), Major Metcalf (Charles Wilcox) and Miss Casewell (Raquel Jackmond). An additional traveler, Mr. Paravicini (David Scheimann), arrives after driving his car into a snow drift. Of course, everyone matches the description of the murderer.
Anyone could be, and should be the murderer with the skeletons they are hiding. After a guest is strangled, a mysterious voice whistles the nursery rhyme, “The Three Blind Mice.”
Detective Sergeant Trotter (Drew Williams) immediately comes to the scene and sets a trap for the suspect. Williams portrays his character with spunk and authority.
Alas, the murderer is…well, as tradition goes, the audience is sworn not to reveal their identity.
The Actor’s Guild players are superb. The cast breathes life into the cobwebs of “The Mousetrap” and has great fun doing so. Dark pasts and well-kept secrets are in store for viewers.
After watching this performance, you’ll be asking yourself one question – “Can I promise not to tell?”