Delaware Theater Spotlight

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Mousetrap at Resident Ensemble Players

When you think of the longest running professional show, most people think of Cats or Phantom of the Opera. While that's true that they are some of the longest running musicals, they are not the longest running professional production. When The Mousetrap opened on the West End in London back in 1952, Agatha Christie thought it would run for 8 months. It is still running today with more than 25,000 performances—incredibly impressive. The Mousetrap is one of the most well-constructed whodunits ever written.

Mr. Paravicini, Lee Ernst, scaring Mollie Ralston, Elizabeth Heflin, with a fire iron

Missing The Mousetrap at Resident Ensemble Players at the University of Delaware would be a grave mistake. Taking place in the Great Hall of Monkswell Manor, recently converted into a guesthouse, C. David Russel's set design is extraordinary. It feels like you're in the middle of English countryside in a huge house with many side entrances, secret passageways, and back staircases, accented by the large window center stage, showing the snow blockading everyone inside. The eerie lighting design by Matt Richards and creeks and moans of the house created by sound designer Eileen Smitheimer add to the uneasiness.

In an ensemble cast such as this, it's really difficult to single out any one actor. That is a very good thing. All eight characters are very well-rounded and specific—each one more suspicious than the last. Everyone seems to be hiding something. All of the guests of Monkswell Manor seem to have more than just morbid curiosity about a recent murder in London. After one of the guests is murdered, however, they realize that the murderer is snowed into the house with everyone.

Giles Ralston, Mic Matarrese, and Christopher Wren, Jeffrey C. Hawkins

Many of the performances are already sold out, so if you haven't purchased tickets yet I highly recommend doing so. This production is too good to sit out. Even if you know the ending or have seen it before, The Mousetrap by Resident Ensemble Players is so well acted that you'll still be surprised. As is tradition at the St. Martin's Theatre in the West End, the audience is promised to secrecy to not reveal the identity of the murderer. If you want to know who it is, you'll have to see the show for yourself, because you won't get the answer here!

Resident Ensemble Players' The Mousetrap runs at the University of Delaware until February 9. For tickets, call 302-831-2201 or visit

Posted at 10:46am on January 28, 2014 by

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