Here’s why you need to see Agatha Christie’s ‘The Mousetrap’ in the West End

Sophie Thomas
Sophie Thomas

Even though The Mousetrap is the West End's oldest play, thousands of audience members still visit St. Martin’s Theatre every week to find out the killer’s identity in Agatha Christie’s timeless whodunnit. The Mousetrap follows a group of strangers staying at a countryside manor who learn of a murderer in their midsts. One by one, the guests share their pasts until the murderer's identity. Here's everything you need to know about The Mousetrap in the West End.

Ahead of The Mousetrap's 70th anniversary, we went backstage to learn more about The Mousetrap's history. Discover more about the classic West End play and book your The Mousetrap tickets today.

The Mousetrap is at St. Martin’s Theatre.

Book The Mousetrap tickets on London Theatre.

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There’s original props used in The Mousetrap

To give the impression of Monkswell Manor as a stately countryside estate, The Mousetrap set is adorned with plenty of timely nic-nacs. From the moment you sit in the auditorium, you'll see paintings on the walls, sofas with floral patterns, and a 1950s radio. Make sure to take a look at the clock on the fireplace — the Mousetrap clock has been a part of the set since the first London performance in 1952.

In order to create the impressions that characters have walked in from a snowstorm, The Mousetrap cast members must stand in a small room while they're sprinkled with a white powder from the ceiling.

The Mousetrap uses live sound effects

There's no automated sound effects here! Everything you hear in The Mousetrap comes from somebody making a sound either backstage or on stage. There's everything from working door bells, a triangle musical instrument for light sounds, and heavy doors to make the ideal thudding noises. In order to generate the blustery weather, there's a 1950s wind machine backstage that you have to crank in order to create the sound of gales.

Agatha Christie is one of the most read authors of all time

Did you know that Agatha Christie is the third most-read person of all time? To date, over 4 billion copies of her detective stories have been sold worldwide — that's plenty of sleuthing! Christie comes in third behind the Bible and William Shakespeare.

The Mousetrap impacted future films

Agatha Christie is often hailed as the "Queen of Crime". The literary genius penned over 60 detective stories and dozens of short stories. She's also the brains behind characters such as Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. It's only fitting then that two of her stories play in the West End for audiences of all ages to enjoy: The Mousetrap and Witness for the Prosecution.

The Mousetrap’s clever storytelling continues to inspire blockbuster films. Before the 2019 film Knives Out went into production, the writers came to a performance of The Mousetrap for inspiration on how to bring a master detective to life. Knives Out went on to earn an Academy Award, BAFTA, and Golden Globe nominations for Best Screenplay. Plus there’s two more Knives Out sequels in the works. It goes to show that when you start off with The Mousetrap, you’re guaranteed a hit.

The Mousetrap requires brain power

If you’re looking for a theatrical puzzle, then you need to see The Mousetrap. During each scene, characters reveal more about their lives, and there's secret clues that nod to the murderer's identity. Watch out for what the characters are wearing too, as more than one person may match up to the killer's garment.

The Mousetrap is a classic piece of theatre

Some plays only run in the West End for a few months before they're gone forever. However, The Mousetrap will always be there as a West End staple. When The Mousetrap reopened in 2021 after the pandemic, producers were keen to begin performances at St. Martin's Theatre from 17 May 2021 — the first day performances could take place indoors. A West End without The Mousetrap is like the Tower of London without crows. It’s just not possible.

You can only find out what happens in The Mousetrap by seeing the show

Don't click on the Google suggestions. Stop reading spoilers. At The Mousetrap, audiences are highly encouraged to keep the secrets once they’ve watched a performance, so they won’t reveal what happens to anyone else. The only way you’re going to know what happens in The Mousetrap is if you watch a performance. Discover a piece of British history at The Mousetrap today.

Book The Mousetrap tickets on London Theatre.

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Photo credit: The Mousetrap programme (Photo writer's own)

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