REVIEW: The Mousetrap, Sunderland Empire

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IT wasn’t the butler, nor was it Professor Plum with the candelabra in the kitchen - but like all good ‘whodunits’ The Mousetrap kept us guessing until the very end.

In fact, as the world’s longest running play, it’s been keeping audiences guessing for 60 years.

It’s got none of the jazz hands and toe-tapping tunes of the shows usually staged at the Empire, but what it does have, which has ensured its longevity, is a cracking good tale.

The scene is set in a country pile where a group of people, who are cut off by the snow, discover there’s a murderer in their midst.

Cue suspense, red herrings galore and a good old period detective drama in true Agatha Christie style.

As you would expect from the Queen of Crime Writing, each of the characters is incredibly well drawn.

Each has a secret, a twist and a turn to their character, which ensures you never quite know who’s done it.

This isn’t a star vehicle, each of the cast has their pivotal part to play as the tale unravels, and there was some top-notch acting on stage last night.

Karl Howman, of Brush Strokes fame, was deliciously mysterious as the unexpected guest while Henry Luxemburg managed to be funny, charming and intriguing as typical English gent Giles Ralston.

Jonathan Woolf also pulled off the role of Detective Sergeant Trotter with aplomb as he attempts to solve the murder mystery.

The Mousetrap is a show that requires more concentration than most as the pieces of the puzzle are gradually put together bit by bit, but, despite my efforts, I still hadn’t guessed the culprit before the big reveal.

Katy Wheeler