The Mousetrap:
A delicious new interpretation of Agatha Christie's classic murder mystery

By Rajkhet Dirzhud-Rashid
Staff Writer

A murderer is on the loose in the middle of the worst snowstorm England has seen in years and at the Monkswell Manor Guest House, things are getting edgy between a strange assortment pf guests.

This classic tale by Agatha Christie is again brought to life with a few differences (the actors are multi-cultural and the guest house has a few Asian touches in the decor) and the result is worth seeing.

Directed with subtlety by David Hsieh, Christie's mystery unfolds delicately, acted out by a strong cast which imcludes filmmaker Jesse Wine and the formidable talent of Lisa Marie Nakamura, a Northwest Asian American Theatre regular. Supporting Wine is newcomer Amy Waschke (from Winterfest '98's Home), who plays his wife, Mollie Ralston.

The story goes as follows: A woman is murdered by a "person of medium height, wearing a dark coat, light felt hat and with muffler over the face." After the guests arrive, the police call, letting the Ralstons - who already have their hands full with five eccentric guests - know a sergeant is on the way to do some investigating.

Everyone is immediately on edge, and soon everyone is suspicious, particularly after the sergeant gets to the manor and gives the description of the murderer. There are four dark coats hanging in the hallway, and one of the guests, Christopher Wren (Gordon Hendrickson), seems a little off-center. Soon a murder occurs and the already tense situation becomes deadly and serious.

As the guests go at each other, tensions mount until finally the conclusion comes. And guess what? It's not at all who anyone would have suspected.

The Mousetrap is a well done drawing room thriller, complete with a claustrophobic set designed by director Hsieh that makes one forget that it isn't actually snowing outside. Very crisply English and T.J. Langley is as wonderful as ever, in a much different role than his earlier ReAct parts.

April 10, 1998


The Mousetrap
Theatre Off Jackson
Repertory Actors Workshop
March 25-April 19
Directed by David Hsieh
Starring Caroline Blakeslee, Carl Carter, Gordon Hendrickson, T.J. Langley, Lisa Marie Nakamura, Dave Tucker, Amy Waschke, Jesse Wine

© 1998 Seattle Gay News. Reprinted with permission by ReAct.