NOVA Center for the Performing Arts -- Billings, Montana

The Mousetrap
Poster by Melanie Fabrizius

Agatha Christie's long-running whodunit 'The Mousetrap' opens Nov. 10 at NOVA
• Jaci Webb
Billlings Gazette Story

• Nov 2, 2017

It's a classic whodunit by Agatha Christie, the woman who helped popularize the genre. But "The Mousetrap" is more than that, it's the world's longest-running play and one that uses humor to establish the characters.
NOVA Center for the Performing Arts opens "The Mousetrap" on Friday, Nov. 10, the same day Christie's most familiar work, "Murder on the Orient Express," hits movie theaters with a star-studded cast, including Johnny Depp.

Christopher Greensweight directs "The Mousetrap" for NOVA, taking a fresh approach to the classic play, which opened in London in 1952. The play will be presented in NOVA's Black Box Nov. 10-19.
It's not considered Christie's best play, and she even expressed concerns about it lasting eight months on London's West End. She was fooled by her own work, though, since "The Mousetrap" is now in the 65th year of its run, making it the world's longest running play.

The final twist is so unpredictable that actors are asked to speak directly to the audience in the final scene, asking them not to reveal the ending. Christie's grandson, Prichard, who holds performance rights to "The Mousetrap" complained to Wikipedia for revealing the ending. Wikipedia still lists the murderer, but added a warning to discourage people to discover who the murderer was.

"The Mousetrap" opens during a snowstorm in an old country mansion with a young couple, the Ralstons, making final preparations before guests arrive. Kassidy R. Miller and Dylan Petit play the young married couple who inherited Monkswell Manor from an aunt.

As the guests start arriving, Mollie Ralston notes how odd they all are. Of course, the audience can't help but notice as well.

"All our guests are either unpleasant or odd," Mollie tells her husband, Giles.

The strangest one, but immediately the most likable because he is so off-the-wall is Christopher Wren, played with a crazy energy by Brandon Lahren. His comments on the world are slightly jarring, but so funny. He recites a snippet of a nursery rhyme, then observes, "Nursery rhymes are so macabre. That's why children like them."

Mrs. Boyle, played by Ginger Roll, is the crankiest boarder, by far. When Giles tells her she can stay elsewhere if she doesn't like Monkswell Manor, you feel like cheering.

Greensweight noted that the play is very British and it features Christie's signature tropes.
"I told the cast, so you're an archetype, get past that," Greensweight said.

After reading Christie's stories since he was 12, Greensweight said he was excited to bring it to the stage. Before J.K. Rowling came up with her Harry Potter series, Christie was the best-selling female writer in history.

The Cast

Mollie Ralston: Kassidy R. Miller
Giles Ralston: Dylan Petit
Christopher Wren: Brandon Lahren
Mrs. Boyle: Ginger Roll
Major Metcalf: Wayne S. Pierce
Mr Paravicini: Michael McCallum
Miss Casewell: Lynn Laubach
Detective Sergeant Trotter: Caleb D. Manci

The Crew
Director: Christopher Greensweight
Technical Director: Dan Nickerson
Costumer: Mary Ann Connors
Light Board Operator: Christopher Greensweight
Sound Technician: Zane Sandine


From left, actors Lynn Laubach, Brandon Lahren, Kassidy R. Miller, Caleb D. Manci, Wayne Pierce and Michael McCallum pose for a portrait in advance of their staging of "The Mousetrap" at the NOVA Center for the Performing Arts. The stage adaptation of the Agatha Christie mystery plays beginning Nov. 10


The most off-the-wall guest at Monkswell Manor Christopher Wren, played by Brandon Lahren, makes a face at Mollie Ralston (Kassidy R. Miller) in a scene from the NOVA Center production of "The Mousetrap.

From left, "The Mousetrap" cast members Caleb D. Manci and Michael McCallum rehearse a scene at the NOVA Center for the Performing Arts, where the murder mystery plays beginning Friday, Nov. 10.
Photos by Bronte Wittpenn, Billings Gazette

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NOVA Center for the Performing Arts  -  2317 Montana Avenue - Billings, MT 59101
PO Box 11
Billings, MT 59103
Phone: 406-591-9535