There’s a reason Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap is the longest running play in British theatre history - tension.
I spent a full two hours sitting straight-backed at Sheffield’s Lyceum Theatre when the show came to town recently. And I wasn’t the only one.
This classic murder mystery has been thrilling audiences for 60 years. And to mark the occasion it is taking an anniversary tour around the country.
The all-star cast includes some instantly recognisable faces from the acting world. And each portrayal of the eight main characters was spot on.
As soon as the curtain lifted the scene was set. We were welcomed into the great hall of Monkswell Manor guest house where a fire is roaring and snow can be seen falling outside.
Newlyweds Mollie and Giles Ralston (played by Michael Instone and Jemma Walker) are new to the hospitality trade after being bequeathed Monkswell Manor by a deceased relative.
Their first guests are due to arrive imminently and Mollie is determined to make a good impression.
But she needn’t worry. One by one the guests arrive. And each is stranger and more unhinged than the one before.
Then the power is cut off and they are stranded together in the creaky old mansion.
The audience knows what is coming... a murder. But excitement builds as we wait to see when it will happen and who is to be the unlucky soul.
Tension and suspense builds brilliantly as the strangers cast their suspicions upon one another to try and oust the murderer in their midst.
One by one they reveal their sordid pasts until the last nerve-shredding moment when the identity and motive are revealed.
Particular praise must go to Steven France who plays colourful young ‘architect’ Christopher Wren with unnerving eccentricity. And established actress Elizabeth Power is shudderingly hateful as moaning Mrs Boyle.
I urge anyone who loves a good thriller to catch The Mousetrap on its Diamond tour. For show dates visit www.the-mousetrap.co.uk
By Hayley Gallimore