by Moonlight Stage Productions
Moonlight Stage Productions
Avo Playhouse, 303 Main St., Vista
7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays; 2 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays; thru Feb. 5
Tickets: $22 to $30
Info: (760) 724-2110
Photos by Ken Jacques
Outstanding Production Opens Moonlight’s Winter Season
By Ruth Lepper
Bravo to Moonlight Stage Productions for a magnificent production of Agatha Christie’s classic suspense thriller, “The Mousetrap.”
The eight-member cast is an outstanding selection by director Jason Heil. Each of the actors has their characters down pat, complete with exceptional accents and proper British mannerisms that date back to the 1940s era.
The action takes place in the great hall at Monkswell Manor on the outskirts of London. A winter storm is brewing as guests are arriving for a stay at the newly opened inn. The latest news on the radio tells of a brutal murder of a woman.
The characters are a convoluted assortment to the suspense-filled plot. Mollie and Giles Ralston (Jessica John, Jonathan Sachs) are the innkeepers. Christopher Wren (Ethan Mikael Tapley) is a nervous young architect with a hideous laugh. Mrs. Boyle (Dagmar Krause Fields), a former magistrate, doesn’t hesitate to point out all the faults of the inn and its hosts. Major Metcalf (Walter Ritter) is a retired military man snooping around the inn. Miss Casewell (Rachael Van Wormer) is a strange young woman with a secretive past. Mr. Paravicini (Phil Johnson) is an unexpected guest claiming to have car trouble. Detective Sgt. Trotter (Jake Rosko) shows up on skis to solve the mystery.
Another murder takes place and no one is safe as tension escalates. Everyone becomes a target as the guests and innkeepers begin suspecting each other. It’s easy to go along with each scenario as presented, leading up to an ending that comes as a complete surprise.
The superb scenic design is by N. Dixon Fish, perfect for an English inn. Costumes by Roslyn Lehman and Renetta Lloyd are straight out of the 1940s. Lighting design by Paul A. Canaletti Jr. and sound design by Chris Leussman add to the ambiance of the inn and the winter storm.
Agatha Christie based “The Mousetrap” on true events. After playing as a radio show for five years, it opened on London’s West End in 1952 and has never closed. With more than 25,000 performances, it is the longest-running play in the world.