Agatha Christie whodunit is 60 years. What is the secret of his longevity? Stephen Moss goes behind the scenes of "snow room" and the pub for a sing-song with the castQuentin Tarantino saw The Mousetrap
two years ago. I would have said that, because when I recently called the work, which this week clocks 60 years in the West End of London, I could not help but wonder what I could do with creaky old Agatha Christie thriller. Blood, gore, black humor, talk tortuous. Could be great, but probably only lasts two weeks.
I've always been fascinated by The Mousetrap, which was in the Ambassadors Theatre 22 years after its creation in 1952, before moving to atmosphere side of St. Martin. I checked the sign changed every year on its facade - "60 years" who preaches today - and questioned outside groups tour in Japan. But I had never seen until last week, when, on the occasion of the joint celebration of its 60th anniversary and its 25,000 th performance I saw, not once but three times.
a Tuesday morning is probably not the best place to start: about 100 followers in a 550-seat theater. The first thing you notice is a wooden panel in the hall: "This performance is the number 24 993 Agatha Christie The Mousetrap, the longest in the world to launch the game." Many participants were photographed with him, claiming its place in the history of theater.
A young woman is out with her grandmother, who uses a wheelchair. Asked a man in a costume for a ramp, thinking that it is the staff. It is not - it is here to see the game - but seek one anyway. We are, after all, a big family. Linda Allcock, against Birmingham with her husband, Roger, is celebrating her birthday. "I always wanted to see The Mousetrap," he said later in the interval. "So I said," Well, I'm 60 years old, his 60th birthday. - I'll go see Agatha Christie I love you. " I wonder if it worked for that. She hazards a guess. I told her she could be in for a surprise. "He was a member of the audience?" Roger takes a brilliant suggestion.
There are eight cast members, each signed by a season of 47 weeks. More than 400 actors who have appeared in recent years. Richard Attenborough was the original Sergeant Trotter and his wife, Sheila Sim, the first Mollie Ralston - Hostel owner Monkswell Manor, which inevitably overwhelmed (which does not prevent Trotter arrives on skis residents say that s 'is the first murderer). But alongside Attenborough and Sim, few players were headliners. The Mousetrap is a star vehicle, the work and its author are the stars
The drama became the longest running show in the history of British theater and in April 1958 (reproduced below, did not run as long as they do now). From that moment, says producer Stephen Waley-Cohen, "began to develop its own momentum." I liken it to Madame Tussauds and the changing of the guard - something you must do if you visit London. But public is not, as conventional wisdom suggests, mainly composed of foreign tourists. Most are from other parts of the United Kingdom, for them, the trap is part of the London experience. It's like a quasi-religious ritual, with the public as part of a process than plaster.
Geoff Bullen, the current director, agrees that it is a rite of passage, but insists that it works as theater, too. "The work is plentiful and not only the characters cardboard cutouts," he said. "It is very well organized - the height of The Dream of a Summer Night." Charles Spencer, drama critic of the Daily Telegraph, it looks more like a nightmare afternoon in winter. "San Martin Theatre one of the most attractive theaters of the West End, "he wrote last year," and it is a tragedy that has been filled with tosh so painful for so long. " Telegraph readers, constituency work naturally turned to him.More than a dream
The next night, I see the trap again, but this time behind the stage, sitting with the actors. They make me feel very welcome and showed me the room "snow" where all visitors Monkswell Manor receives a thick layer of white scales (foam pad) before going on stage, but offered to let me turn the historical wind machine (as used in the original production) and take me to a pub in Soho after singing traditional Wednesday night.