The Mousetrap: A Classic - A Landmark - A Legend
In her own inimitable style, Dame Agatha Christie has created an atmosphere of shuddering suspense and a brilliantly intricate plot where murder lurks around every corner.
"The cleverest murder mystery of the British theatre" The Daily Telegraph
The Mousetrap opened at The Ambassadors Theatre on 25 November 1952 where it remained for 21 years. On Saturday 12 April 1958 The Mousetrap became the longest running production of any kind in the history of British Theatre, beating the five-and-a-half years run of Chu Chin Chow. After its 8,862nd performance on the evening of Saturday 23 March 1974 it transferred to its current home, The St Martin's Theatre, on Monday 25 March 1974.
"A truly entertaining classic thriller" The Sunday Times
This production celebrated its 50th Anniversary on Monday 25 November 2002 with a special Gala Performance attended by Her Majesty, The Queen and His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh. On 25 November 2004 The Mousetrap celebrated its 52nd Birthday. The total number of actors and actresses who have appeared in the London production now number 350 with 187 understudies.
"Deservedly a classic among murder thrillers" The Observer
"The Mousetrap celebrates its 60th birthday later this year and it remains the longest-running show of all time... Agatha Christie's play is set in the Great Hall of Monkswell Manor, in Berkshire. The mahogany set comes with a huge leaded window and a fireplace. The phone line is down, the snow is piled up, and the victims and suspects arrive on cue. One is a killer... The action takes place in a world of rationing, Bakelite appliances, tweed and solid fuel boilers... The play, directed by Geoff Bullen, has been preserved in aspic. Even the newsreader on the radio is history: it's the voice of the late Deryck Guyler. The lovely St Martin's Theatre has Mousetrap memorabilia in its bars and foyers, making it a little museum for the show. Bored critics occasionally demand that The Mousetrap come off to make way for more relevant theatre. But why not leave it for another 60 years? It's not great drama; it's not even a great whodunit. But it's definitely an enjoyable time-tunnel into the lost genre of the country-house murder mystery. If the current producer ever decides to close it down, the National Trust must step in." The Mail on Sunday 2012
"Now in its 60th year on the London stage, and the longest running show in the world, Agatha Christie's play - thriller hardly seems the right word when even a corpse looks quite cosy - is visited in the same spirit that still sends tourists queuing at Lenin's tomb. It is a mummified relic of what was once believed in. Which has a point of its own. The Mousetrap provides what a theatre museum, for all its perfectly preserved costumes, playbills and voice recordings, cannot. It gives audiences a chance to experience a piece of stage life lifted wholesale from the past, a piece that carries the DNA of the first performance, that has not been re-created but continuously re-enacted. Some of what is seen is the stuffiness that gives the overmaligned 50s a bad name, but it has a weird authenticity." The Observer 2012
Sir Peter Saunders (1911 to 2003), the original producer of The Mousetrap from 1952 to 1994, writes: "When the late Queen Mary was approaching her eightieth birthday she was asked by the BBC what she would like to celebrate the event - anything from Shakespeare to opera. Queen Mary said she would like "an Agatha Christie play" and Mrs Christie promptly wrote a thirty-minute radio production called Three Blind Mice. This was eventually to become The Mousetrap.
The Mousetrap in London originally opened at the Ambassadors Theatre on 25 November 1952, closed 23 March 1974, transferred to the St Martin's Theatre on 25 March 1974.