The Fulton Theatre’s production of Agatha Christie’s, The Mousetrap, is an intriguing murder mystery that is filled with excellent performances and a grand set that is worth the price of admission alone.
The Mousetrap, is set in a mysterious hotel that is newly run by Mollie and Giles Ralston (Katie Sina and Andrew Kindig). An assortment of colorful characters come to stay in the hotel for the evening. When murder strikes, Detective Sergeant Trotter (Jeffrey Coon) enters the hotel to question the guests as intrigue and paranoia sinks in.
Katie Sina and Andrew Kindig were very likable as the straight couple in the play. In a sea of eccentric personalities, their chemistry and characters grounded the play. Sina especially shines in the second half, as Mollie questions her husband’s loyalty. She also shares fine chemistry with Jeffrey Coon’s Detective Trotter. Kindig holds his own as a husband who is trying to keep himself together in a hotel that is suddenly filled with chaos. His reactions to the outrageous characters around him are priceless.
Peter Simon Hamilton’s flamboyant Christopher Wren was a real crowd pleaser. His playful humor and excellent line deliveries had the audience laughing throughout the enjoyable first act. In the more serious and slower paced second act, any trace of Hamilton’s campiness for the character had vanished. It was almost as if someone told the actor to tone down the energy a bit. This choice greatly hurt the performance, and the overall production. The second act dragged greatly without Hamilton’s excellent comedic moments.
Tony Lawson and Paula Scrofano were nearly unrecognizable as the delightfully over the top Mr. Paravinci and the stern Mrs. Boyle. Although Mr. Paravinci is talked about by the other characters as being especially suspicious, Lawson’s bizarre accent and exaggerated movements brought refreshing humor to this odd character. Scrofano is appropriately vile as the cranky and old Mrs. Boyle. Her constant critiques of the other characters were delivered with a truly biting inflection by Scrofano. Her performance made Mrs. Boyle a villain that the audience just loved to hate.
John Reeger was entirely convincing in the role of the elderly war veteran Major Metcalf. Although not as showy a role as some of the other hotel guests, Reeger more than held his own with his other cast mates. Kate Fahrner also brought great swagger to the mysterious Miss Casewell.
Jeffrey Coons also was extremely strong as Detective Sergeant Trotter. He had the audience enveloped in the action with his engaging line readings and strong stage presence. Although Detective Trotter does not enter the play until much later into the first half, Coon’s convincing turn as a confident detective gave the evening a greater sense of suspense.
Marc Robin’s direction was well done and assured, for the most part. The second act dragged compared to the vibrant first half. The second half could have used a little more of the humor and excitement that fueled the first act. Nevertheless, Robin managed to get uniformly excellent performances out of the entire cast, as they were a true ensemble.
William James Mohney’s sprawling set was truly a sight to behold. Filled to the brim with intricate details and wonderful surprises, Mohney’s grand hotel setting and Bill Simmons’ eye-catching lighting were truly some of the best The Fulton has seen. Beth Dunkelberger’s gorgeous period costumes and Anthony Lascoskie Jr.’s Wig and Makeup design truly brought the audience into the world of Agatha Christie. The creative elements were incredible, and all worked together to tell this intriguing story.
Although the second half drags a bit, the strong cast and outstanding set and lighting design makes The Fulton Theatre’s production of The Mousetrap an intriguing night that is a murderously entertaining time.