The Mousetrap at The Woodbrook Players

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Three blind mice…three blind mice…see how they run…to The Woodbrook Players in the Brown Memorial Woodbrook Presbyterian Church this autumn to see the infamous Agatha Christie play The Mousetrap. Critically acclaimed as The West End’s longest running live theatrical show, The Mousetrap is filled with spine-tingling chills that only Agatha Christie can pen properly for the stage. Directed by Ron Oaks, the show is making its Towson area appearance just in time to put the post-Halloween shivers in the air. With a striking set, fully engaged cast, and a delicious sense of danger, this production is a solid one well worth investing an evening or an afternoon out to see!

HanaLyn Colvin (left) as Molly Ralston, Marc Rehr (center) as Mr. Pavroccini, and Richard Pardoe (right) as Giles RalstonThe Woodbrook Players
HanaLyn Colvin (left) as Molly Ralston, Marc Rehr (center) as Mr. Pavroccini, and Richard Pardoe (right) as Giles Ralston

The rustic charm of Monkswell Manor, a newly established guest house, comes to fruition under the careful vision of Director and Set Designer Ron Oaks. With a Set Construction crew consisting of himself, Jocelyn Taylor and Andrew Nickol, the many-doored house with rooms aplenty (though we only ever see the front parlor) is gloriously set down before us, with stairs that go off into the ether, creating the illusion that the house is indeed bigger than that initial room to which we are privy. Properties Team Members— John Dignam, Ed Migol, Sherry Peck, Brett Rohrer, and Jocelyn Taylor— do a bang up job of furnishing the set as well. Homey without too much clutter, it’s the perfect aesthetic for an unsettling mystery that’s about to unfold! Sherry Peck of the Properties Patrol is also responsible for the show’s timeless costume design. In the mind’s eye of Americans, every show set in Great Britain, regardless of when it’s set, has this charming look of yesteryore about it, and Peck ensures that this effect is firmly in place with her sartorial selection for the cast.

The only people who really know what people are like are artists— and this bunch of acting artists understands the peculiar bunching of characters that Agatha Christie has eclectically gathered in this edgy mystery tale. I dare say you shall be inspired by Rafael Regales’ performance as the spastic and eccentric Christopher Wren. Just the heaviest bit fey in his portrayal of the popinjay, as per the dialect portends, Regales makes quite the impression from his absurd arrival right through to all of his curious interactions, especially in the way he plays around with Mrs. Ralston (HanaLyn Colvin.) Ever the fretting and fraught with worry and hysterics British housewife Colvin adapts the character of Molly Ralston to be soppy and simpering, just as her dialogue portends. When playing opposite the husband character of Giles Ralston (Richard Pardoe), Colvin lets her character’s insecurities and worries show strongly. Pardoe, as the stereotypically reserved British husband, manages to draw up suspicions, like a moss gathering stone, to his character as the plot moves along.

Cristine Fluke (left) as Mrs. Boyle, John Dignam (center) as Major Metcalf, and Jenn Mikulski (right) as Ms. CasewellThe Woodbrook Players
Cristine Fluke (left) as Mrs. Boyle, John Dignam (center) as Major Metcalf, and Jenn Mikulski (right) as Ms. Casewell

The haughty Mrs. Boyle (Cristine Fluke) the brusque yet delightful Major Metcalf (John Dignam) and the bizarrely off-putting strange, Mr. Pavroccini (Marc Rehr) add rigorous dynamics to all of the events unfolding inside of Monkswell Manor. Fluke, who has constant complaint be it about the noise or the chill inside the house, is a proper curmudgeon, making her character’s existence on stage a miserable one. Dignam, who is quick of speech and almost effervescently spry despite the character’s age, brings a well-blended balance, and the second most consistent accent of the production to fruition in his performance. Rehr, who aptly plays the bungling and confusing foreigner, has stop-gaps the size of the Thames in his speaking, but this lends itself to the mysterious nature of his character.

Jenn Mikulski (left) as Ms. Casewell and Brett Rohrer (right) as Det. Sgt. TrotterThe Woodbrook Players
Jenn Mikulski (left) as Ms. Casewell and Brett Rohrer (right) as Det. Sgt. Trotter

Vying for strongest performance in the production is Jenn Mikulski as Miss Casewell going against Brett Rohrer as Detective Sergeant Trotter. Mikulski delivers the most consistent and believable accent in the production, making her snappy zingers that much more crisp when she delivers them. Mikulski is an exceptional background performer as well, chewing scenery in a most attractive fashion that gives the audience a little something subtle to enjoy without pulling focus from whatever is meant to be happening on stage. This is also a delightful skill in practice as it keeps audience members from noticing any little hiccups and hitches that naturally occur with the process that is live theatre. Rohrer, as the somewhat off-kilter detective, really showcases the stereotype of the bungling bumbling detective that gets dispatched to handle these sorts of cases. There is something humorous and yet strikingly real in Rohrer’s performance, making it a perfect catalyst for plot advancement when the time calls for it.   

There are a great many remarkable things happening on stages all over the place, one of which is The Mousetrap at Woodbrook Players. I dare say you won’t want to miss this one!

Running Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes with one intermission

The Mousetrap plays through November 19, 2017 at The Woodbrook Players in the Brown Memorial Woodbrook Presbyterian Church— 6200 N. Charles Street in Baltimore, MD. Tickets are available for purchase at the door, cash, check, or credit card!

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