Still A Mystery

International Examiner

As the longest running play in theatrical history (it opened in London in 1952 and hasn't looked back), The Mousetrap has charmed thousands of playgoers and mystery lovers with its entertaining suspects and tantalizing suspense. ReAct's artistic director David Hsieh has, assembled an engaging troupe of actors for this latest production of Agatha Christie's classic.

Mollie and Giles Ralston (Amy Waschke and Jesse Wine) are young and nervous newlyweds operating a new guest house. With the radio broadcasting winter storm warnings and news of a murder in the vicinity, four expected guests and a stranded traveler arrive: an eccentric young man improbably named Christopher Wren (Gordon Hendrickson), a stuffy matron (Lisa Marie Nakamura), an upright major (Carl Carter), a sophisticated expatriate (Caroline Blakeslee) and an amorous Italian (Dave Tucker). The inn is snowbound and cut off from outside communication when a police detective (T.J. Langley) arrives - on skis - to tell us what we already know: that the murdered will likely strike again.

Hsieh's crew constructed a comfortable English sitting room on the confined stage, improvising as many productions staged at Theatre Off Jackson do, by using an aisle as one of the exits. The actors' crisp deliveries of Queen's English and a few careful props - notably the elongated wooden skis - helped set the time and place.

One of the play's hallmarks is character acting, and the actors did not disappoint. As Mollie, Waschke made a winsome hostess. Nakamura quickly found her stride projecting the offensive pompousness of Mrs. Boyle, as did Blakeslee playing the cool, aloof Miss Casewell. Tucker, as Mr. Paravicini, got great mileage out of his accent. But if anyone milked a role to the utmost, it was Hendrickson. With spiked hair and bright red socks, primly crossing his legs and then uncrossing them with affected mannerism, Hendrickson's Christopher Wren was a hilarious twerp. Altogether, the top-notch casting made this chestnut a pleasurable night out in the International District.


April 15 - May 5, 1998


Repertory Actors Workshop (ReAct)
Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap
The Theatre Off Jackson
Through April 19.

© 1998 The International Examiner. Reprinted with permission by ReAct.

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