“Perhaps you can’t trust anybody,” said Mollie Ralston, wife and innkeeper of Monkswell Manor. “Maybe everyone is a stranger.”
The Castleton University Department of Theater Arts’ recent production of “Mousetrap” by Agatha Christie, was a captivating mystery involving eight individuals and their stay at a British bed and breakfast during a terrible snowstorm.
After the mysterious and terrifying murder of one guest, they must figure out who among them is a cold-blooded killer. Everyone is under suspicion, and each person has lies and secrets to be revealed.
The stage displayed the ornate living room of Monkswell Manor, decorated with traditional furniture, light fixtures, and mid-1900s style printed wallpaper. All the while, jazz music played in the background and faint blue lighting illuminated the set.
One by one, each character was introduced. First up were the innkeepers, Mr. and Mrs. Ralston, played by Peter LaLumiere and Mara Bailey. Together they were the backbone of the work, LaLumiere selling the husband’s concerned and serious mannerisms, and Bailey showing the wife’s expressive and anxious personality.
Next up was Christopher Wren, played by Daniel Jackson, who excellently sold the young man’s vibrancy and sass, especially through body language. After the show, Jackson commented that he “settled in the role easily,” and that the character’s personality made his experience that much more enjoyable.
After Wren came brazen and meticulous Mrs. Boyle, the victim of the murderer in disguise. This character was played by Veronica Stevens, who later shared how much she enjoyed her rudeness. She explained, “The more I played up the mean-ness, the more fun it got.”
The following leads included Jac Culpo as Major Metcalf, Kayla Laurie as Miss Casewell, and Ryan Boeke as Mr. Paravicini. Culpo and Laurie both do an excellent job embodying the mature and guarded nature of these two characters. Moreover, Boeke successfully portrayed his character’s grandiose personality and dark sense of humor.
All these characters are interrogated, one by one, by Sergeant Trotter, fulfilled by Luke McGee.
Following the show, he commented on the character’s dynamism and how “he has such a wide range of emotions.” Without spoiling the conclusion, it’s safe to say that Trotter reveals the killer in the end, with a twist that most of the audience did not see coming.
Stevens, Jackson and McGee spoke on behalf of the entire crew in their review of the play’s success. Stevens talked about her gratitude for the play and how well it turned out, “especially after having two years without theater” due to COVID-19. Jackson added that the play was “fabulous” and that it was amazing “to see the reactions from the audience” after seeing it a million times. McGee sums it up by saying that he “couldn’t be more proud.”
Not only was the production a success, but cast members said they also made a lot of great memories at rehearsal. For example, McGee shared how he was “gifted a worm on a string, which now lives inside his coat pocket.” Another humorous memory comes from Jackson, who said that one day he was practicing a scene of hiding behind the curtain, and it nearly fell due to being held together by mere safety pins. Lastly, Stevens mentioned, “how there was a game played with a baby and whoever had it last had to call up a friend and say, ‘I have the baby,’ no context.”