St Martin's Theatre
West Street, London
From: 25 March 1974
Booking to: 7 November 2020
Buy tickets:Buy tickets online
Nearest Tube: Leicester Square
Monday at 7.30pm
Tuesday at 3.00pm and 7.30pm
Wednesday at 7.30pm
Thursday at 3.00pm and 7.30pm
Friday at 7.30pm
Saturday at 4.00pm and 7.30pm
Sunday no show
Runs 2 hours and 20 minutes including one interval
£? to £?
Premium Seating also available
(plus booking fees if applicable)
The record-breaking stage production of Agatha Christie's whodunit The Mousetrap in London - the world's longest continuous theatrical production!
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 Mousetrap: A Classic - A Landmark - A Legend.
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. 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.
Lucy Bailey's revival of Agatha Christie's courtroom drama Witness for the Prosecution is currently playing in a 'site-specific' staging at London County Hall.
"Agatha Christie's Mousetrap is stuffed full of very mouldy old theatrical cheese. But mouldiness is what gives this decrepit little thriller, now celebrating its 40th successive West End year, a distinctive aroma and its raison d'etre. The Mousetrap is our last direct contact with a vanished theatrical world - a world before the angry young generation seized the hour and began to transform our theatre root and branch. It belongs to a time when the theatre scarcely went further than the middle class drawing room; when the Lord Chamberlain was responsible for censoring the stage, keeping language and action as clean and sex-less as a scoutmaster's whistle; when a multi-racial society, women's liberation and corrupt policemen were things of the future. And gay was just the word Ivor Novello used for his latest, fragrant musical. Even in 1952 Christie was antique hat. She had never moved much beyond the Thirties country house world, and a thriller formula in which almost everyone was made to look guilty until proved innocent. But the great popularity of her procedure hardly explains why The Mousetrap has survived so phenomenally long. Ian Watt-Smith, the director responsible for the production's annual resuscitation, does not help to promote goose pimples and cheap thrills. After a small scream in the dark, the stage is plunged into the light of the Great Hall of Monkswell Manor hotel in snow-bound Berkshire, where Anthony Holland's decor looks a touch mock Tudor cardboard and the characters rather match. According to young Detective Sergeant Trotter who arrives on skis, a murderer is already in their midst. The villain in question has thoughtfully dropped a note near the scene of his last murder indicating the manor is his next destination. And since every guest seems either suspicious or disturbed tension slightly rises. Despite the Lord Chamberlain's veto on homosexual characters, Christie, in need of a few choice crazies, slips some in. The sinister Miss Casewell in suit and tie, Mr Paravinci who 'wears make-up, rouge and powder' and the disturbed Christopher Wren who 'adores chiffoniere,' are among those suspected of committing murder just before the first curtain. Preposterousness takes The Mousetrap in a vice-like grip and does not release it until the final un-likely revelations." The London Evening Standard (1992)
"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 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 over maligned 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.
It was some years later when Agatha Christie asked me to lunch with her. Over the coffee she handed me a brown paper parcel and said, "This is a little present for you". The present was the script of The Mousetrap and the one person who made no money out of it was the authoress herself. She had left it in trust for her seven-year-old grandson and all her royalties went to him.
When The Mousetrap opened on the 25th November 1952, Sir Winston Churchill was Prime Minister, Harry S. Truman was President of the USA and Stalin was Head of Russia. Meat, bacon, sugar, cheese, butter and margarine were still rationed. And every man and woman in the country had to have an Identity Card.
It would be easy to write a statistical biography of Agatha Christie. She has written or had adapted from her books 21 plays; her eightieth book was published on her eightieth birthday in September 1970, more than one billion of her books have been sold in the English language and more than one billion in foreign languages. In fact, in March 1962, UNESCO announced that Agatha Christie was the most widely read British writer in the world, with Shakespeare coming a poor second. In 1956 she was awarded the CBE, and in the New Year's Honours List of 1971 she was made a Dame of the Order of the British Empire.
But after an association and friendship with her lasting more than 25 years and halted only by her death on 12th January 1976, I would like to write a little more personally about her. Agatha Christie was very shy, although this shyness extended only to strangers. Among her friends she was both extremely talkative yet a wonderful listener and was extremely knowledgeable on a vast range of subjects. A great Royalist, she nevertheless disliked pomp. Until well into middle age she played tennis and could be seen with her family bathing on the beach at Paignton in Devon."
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.