Everything you need to know about ‘The Mousetrap’ in the West End

Sophie Thomas
Sophie Thomas

The Mousetrap is more than a play. It’s a British institution. Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap is a quintessentially British ‘whodunnit’, as it follows a murder investigation before the murderer is shockingly revealed. The Agatha Christie play is part of the West End fabric — since opening in 1952, The Mousetrap is the world’s longest-running play of all time.

Decades later, generations of theatregoers are still thrilled and shocked by what happens at Monkswell Manor. Whether you’re a West End tourist who wants to discover the classic shows, or you’re wanting to see every show in London, you need to put The Mousetrap on your show list.

From how to get The Mousetrap tickets to when to see the show, here’s your ultimate guide to The Mousetrap.

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What is The Mousetrap about?

Five guests arrive for a relaxing holiday to the newly-opened Monkswell Manor, a Berkshire bed and breakfast. As they find themselves gathered in a remote part of the countryside during a blizzard, they’re stuck indoors and are left with no choice but to speak to one another.

To their surprise, Detective Sergeant Trotter arrives on the hotel doorstep and informs the hotel guests of a nearby murder — and they’re all suspects. Everyone is questioned and seems to fit the murderer’s descriptions, especially when characters begin to reveal their shady pasts. The guests and hotel owners are whittled down one by one until the murderer is shockingly revealed.

As The Mousetrap play is a ‘whodunnit’ and revealing the murderer would ruin the secrets, we’re going to end The Mousetrap synopsis here. You’ll have to see The Mousetrap play on stage to find out the full picture.

Where is The Mousetrap playing?

The Mousetrap plays at St. Martin’s Theatre. The Mousetrap began at the Ambassadors Theatre in 1952, and then moved to the St. Martin’s Theatre in 1974, where it’s played ever since. Find out more about St. Martin’s Theatre.

How long is The Mousetrap?

The Mousetrap play runs for 2 hours and 20 minutes, including a short interval of 15 minutes. Find out more about West End running times.

What days is The Mousetrap playing?

The Mousetrap plays nine performances a week at St. Martin’s Theatre. Matinee performances take place on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 3:00pm. Evening performances take place every day on Monday to Saturday at 7:30pm. For the complete performance schedule and show times, please visit The Mousetrap page to learn more.

When did The Mousetrap premiere?

The Mousetrap was originally a 1947 radio play titled Three Blind Mice. Christie wrote the story for Queen Mary's 80th birthday. After extensive reworking, Three Blind Mice became The Mousetrap and was ready for a live audience.

Although The Mousetrap is often considered to be one of London’s greatest plays, it didn’t start out in the capital. The Mousetrap premiered at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal on 6 Oct. 1952. It then played to regional audiences with performances in Liverpool, Newcastle, Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham, before working its way to London’s Ambassadors Theatre on 25 Nov. 1952.

The Mousetrap original production has never closed in London. The play ran at the Ambassadors Theatre to 23 Mar. 1974, before reopening at the St. Martin’s Theatre down the road on 25 Mar. 1974. By not missing a performance, The Mousetrap was able to continue its open-ended run. The Mousetrap continues at St. Martin's Theatre.

Who wrote The Mousetrap?

The Mousetrap is by Agatha Christie, The genre-defining writer is referred to as the “queen of crime”; she wrote 66 novels throughout her career and was awarded a damehood for services to literature. Even if you’ve never seen The Mousetrap on stage, it’s likely you’ve heard of Agatha Christie’s famous works, such as Murder on the Orient Express, Death on the Nile, and And Then There Were None. Agatha Christie also gave birth to literary characters: Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, and amateur detective Miss Marple, are Christie's doing.

Did you know there are two Agatha Christie plays in London? If you’ve seen The Mousetrap, then why not head to London County Hall and watch Witness for the Prosecution? The courtroom play follows Leonard Vole as he is on trial for murder and must prove his innocence.

If you’re in London, then you can visit the Agatha Christie monument in the West End. There is a monument on Cranbourn Street dedicated to her, testament to her popularity and incredible career.

The Mousetrap Characters

Before seeing The Mousetrap on stage, read more about the main characters in the Agatha Christie play. One of these characters is the infamous Mousetrap murderer, but you’ll have to see the play to find out.

  • Christopher Wren – Christopher Wren is the first guest to arrive at Monkswell Manor. He’s named after the designer of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Watch out for his interesting behaviour as he interacts with the guests. Could his shifty actions be as a result of hiding something?
  • Mrs Boyle – Mrs Boyle is a hotel guest at Monkswell Manor. She’s often complaining about everything and struggles to get comfortable. During her career, she sent children to live with foster parents. Could that be the reason why she’s constantly agitated?
  • Major Metcalf – Major Metcalf is a hotel guest at Monkswell Manor. He’s retired from the army, but continues to behave in a military fashion wherever he goes. Could this be the reason why he’s so suspicious?
  • Miss Casewell – Miss Casewell is a hotel guest at Monkswell Manor. The masculine woman doesn’t let on too much about where she grew up, and as a result, the other guests raise their eyebrows at her.
  • Mr Paravicini – Mr Paravicini turns up at Monkswell Manor during the blizzard, but why would he drive to a manor with no luggage? Can anyone get to know the Hercule Poirot lookalike?
  • Detective Sergeant Trotter – Detective Sergeant Trotter investigates the murder near Monkswell Manor. He arrives at the guest house on skis and guides the holidaymakers through the events. But does he protect the guests?
  • Mollie Ralston – Mollie owns Monkswell Manor along with her husband of one year, Giles Ralston. They inherited the manor from Mollie’s aunt and turned the property into a guest house. Will their inexperience catch up with them?
  • Giles Ralston – Giles owns Monkswell Manor alongside Mollie, but he’s jealous of the attention poured upon Mollie by all the guests.

The Mousetrap History

As The Mousetrap is the longest-running play of all time, the show’s enjoyed many milestone moments. Check out some of the milestones The Mousetrap has made so far!

  • 25 November 1952 – First West End performance at the Ambassadors Theatre.
  • 22 April 1955 – The Mousetrap plays its 1,000th performance at the Ambassadors Theatre.
  • 13 September 1957 – The Mousetrap becomes the longest-running West End play.
  • 12 April 1958 – The Mousetrap becomes the longest-running West End show.
  • 25 March 1974 – The Mousetrap begins performances at St. Martin’s Theatre.
  • 17 December 1976 – The Mousetrap celebrates its 10,000th performance.
  • 16 December 2000 – The Mousetrap celebrates its 20,000th performance.
  • 25 November 2002 – Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh attend The Mousetrap 50th anniversary performance.
  • 18 November 2012 – The Mousetrap celebrates its 25,000th performance with a star-studded cast, including Patrick Stewart, Julie Walters, Harry Lloyd, Nicholas Farrell, Iain Glen, Tamsin Greig, Miranda Hart and Hugh Bonneville.

Fun facts about The Mousetrap

  • Even Agatha Christie could not have predicted how long the show would run for. She thought it would only run for a few months before audiences would stop visiting.
  • Original cast member, Mysie Monte played the role of Mrs Boyle from opening night to November 1967, clocking up over 12 years of performance.
  • There’s still an original cast member in The Mousetrap. Deryck Guyler voices the news broadcast heard on the radio during the play.
  • The set has been changed three times during the run. The only surviving prop from 1952 is the clock that sits on the fireplace.
  • For his ninth birthday, Agatha Christie’s grandson Mathew Pritchard was given the rights to the play. After royalties from the rights to the play, Pritchard set up the Colwinston Charitable Trust in 1995 to distribute the royalties to performing organisations.

How to get The Mousetrap tickets

You need to see the world’s longest-running play, The Mousetrap, in London. Be a part of theatre history and visit St. Martin’s Theatre to see The Mousetrap.

The Mousetrap tickets are available now. Book tickets to The Mousetrap on London Theatre today.

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See more shows in the West End

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Photo credit: The Mousetrap (Photo by Matt Crockett)

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