Groton Theater Presents Murder-Mystery, The Mousetrap

A guest house. A nursery rhyme. A murder.

Ten years ago, a farmer and his wife adopted three young siblings, one of whom died at the hands of their abuse. This morning in London, the farmer’s wife was found strangled and left with a note, “This is the first” and the music to the nursery rhyme “Three Blind Mice.” 

Agatha Christie’s murder mystery The Mousetrap will be Groton’s mainstage theater production this fall. The play is set during a heavy snowstorm in England. A young British couple, The Ralstons (played by Caroline Drapeau ’21 and Max Solomon ’19), host a series of guests at the new guest house they are running, Monkswell Manor. Their guests include a reclusive young woman (Lily Cratsley ’19), a charismatic architect (Julien Alam ’19), an irritable old woman (Alex Kirchner ’22), an army veteran (Isaiah DesRosiers ’21), and a flamboyant foreigner (Colin Rosato ’22). They are completely snowed in and settling into their new environment when a detective (played by Eliza Powers ’20) arrives. The plot unravels and suspicions emerge as to who is connected to the murder in London.

The production is directed by Groton’s interim theater director, Andrea Underhill-Curtain, and stage managed by Sophie Conroy ’19. Sophie praised Andrea for “her knack for finding balance during rehearsal,” and her ability to “make time for what matters, whether that be laughter or civil discourse, in the midst of creating a new world onstage.” Vladimir Malashenko ’19, who is working as the dramaturg, said, “Andrea is extremely passionate about directing and is a pleasure to work with.”

Andrea’s vision for The Mousetrap includes some new interpretations, the largest being the introduction of a new role. “The Radio Personality” is played by Mikayla Murrin ’21. In the original production, the radio is conveyed through an audio recording, and not an actor on stage. Andrea explained, “The Radio Personality character took the form of a person because I felt it was important to see the face behind the information being given to us. For The Mousetrap, all of these characters are stuck inside a house and their only connection to the outside once the phone line is cut is a radio.” She further elaborated that in the 50s, there was less information easily accessible to the public, so people were more likely to automatically deem their sources trustworthy. As the radio is their only connection to the outside world, the inhabitants of Monkswell Manor are completely reliant on what Mikayla has to say.

The Mousetrap is the longest running play on London’s West End –– its first performance was in 1952. It is based off of the radio play “Three Blind Mice” written by Agatha Christie, which aired in 1947 as a tribute for Queen Mary’s birthday. The West End production has many traditions, one of which is asking the audience at the end of every performance to keep the identity of the murderer a secret, which will continue at Groton.

Andrea said of the show, “We see the characters struggle and grow, suspect and trust one another, and question themselves, resulting in personal discoveries. We leave it up to you [the audience] to decide –– come to the show, see who you believe and what you believe to be true.” Performances are November 2nd and 3rd.