top of page

EMA Review: The Mousetrap ***1/2 Satisfying

Iconic Agatha

By Paul Atreides

Author, playwright

Theatre critic at

Dame Agatha Christie was the Queen of Mystery. She wrote 66 novels, a handful of short story collections, and more than 20 plays. The Mousetrap has to be the most well-known piece of writing that came out of her witty and prolific mind. It opened in London in 1952, three days after I was born, but it actually began as a radio play in 1947. Outside of a one-year hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic, the stage play has been running ever since and has racked up over 29,000 performances.

Productions of this iconic play are only found outside the U.K., and only one per year is allowed in the country, other than in London's West End.

Now running at Signature Productions under the direction of Stephen McMillan, it's an old stylized whodunit that can be a lot of fun. The production opened on April 4, and the performance I attended was April 5. Chalk up the slow pacing and missed cues to a standard case of “second-night letdown.” That’s when the excitement and energy of the opening night, filled with friends and relatives, is gone, and the actors are exhausted.

The ensemble cast does a decent job with the caricatures and dealing with the premise. The suspension of disbelief is there. Of them all, Barbara King is the most successful in bringing her character of Mrs. Boyle, a cranky old retired magistrate, to realistic life. Her superiority comes through in the proper halting speech and the stiff-backed poise of her movements.

Alan Terberg takes his character of Christopher Wren over the top and it works well. He’s flighty and nervous, and to use a term of the times, he's nelly. With it, Terberg brings out the humor both vocally and physically. His scene with Michelle Walton, as Mollie Ralston, is one of the best as she attempts to calm his fears. Their timing and pacing make the intent shine through. 

As a critic, there is a lot one could nitpick, such as the freezing cold of winter, which doesn’t seem to affect anyone with the windows open wide and the curtains not fluttering. While the dialects are spot-on (to this Yankee’s ears, anyway), some of the dialogue gets lost with Austin Parrales’ thick and rapid speech as Detective Sergeant Trotter.

The single set is gorgeous and, sadly, goes uncredited. The beautiful Tudor-like grand hall of Monkswell Manor is decorated with just the right amount of artwork and portraits on the walls and lovely antique chairs and sofas.

Sound poses a bit of confusion due to the system until the actors can be recognized by voice. It’s difficult to know who is speaking because it all comes from the speakers rather than from the stage. Microphones should enhance not overpower.

Overall, it’s a solid production. If you enjoy a good mystery in the vein of Murder, She Wrote, head on over. You won’t be disappointed. 

What: Agatha Christies The Mousetrap

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday to Saturday

2 p.m. Saturdays

Through April 27

Where: Summerlin Library, 1771 Inner Circle Dr

Tickets: $35 - $60 (

Grade:  ***1/2 Satisfying

Producer: Signature Productions; Director: Stephen McMillan; Lighting Design: Catherine Pratt; Costume Design: Roxanne Andrews; Stage Manager: Kelly Nelson


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page