The Mousetrap? No, no, no. We’re guessing a million people have seen the longest still-running play in history, no asterisks, and we are not going to be the ones to spoil the denouement of this classic Agatha Christie puzzle, a mystery thriller in which no one is who they seem.
The season opener at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre is indeed a hoary old chestnut chock full of clichés, stereotypes and tropes which weren’t even new when it bowed in 1952. But director Peter Amster and his cast wisely don’t try to fight it or update it. Instead they embrace it with gusto and with hardly a post-modern wink other than playing up everyone’s suspicious facets with a gleeful melodramatic flair that is usually, but not always under control.
While no one breaks character or fails to play the seriousness of the situation, you can easily imagine the fun they are having saying portentous and foreboding lines that virtually wrench the spotlight of suspicion upon them. As is Christie’s wont, anyone could be the murderer, everyone had motive and opportunity, and many characters’ pasts interlock, even though they all seem to have come together by chance.