Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s THE MOUSETRAP

THE MOUSETRAP

Opening Night! The Mousetrap! Milwaukee! Da Bomb!

Do you have a love for classic mystery? Would you like to see the form executed in an historical fashion with a modern flair? Would you love to share this with friends or family over the holiday season? The Milwaukee Rep has your back. THE contemporary mystery play is, has been, and will always be Agatha Christie’s THE MOUSETRAP.

The Rep’s production is superb. Director J.R. Sullivan obviously has a love for Agatha Christie’s fabled play. With his players, he has made it a must see, Milwaukee! There’s a heavy snow, a bed and breakfast and a murder.. Lead player Kelley Faulkner does a bang up job at playing Mollie Ralston in a way which encourages her fellow actors to embrace the Christie archetype.

They are all here: the slightly effeminate young man, the overly entitled “member of society”, the inspirational soldier, the fond of females female and the newlyweds trying to make a living through inheritance. Do not forget the scoundrel. He is here and in rare form.

The curtain draws to a truly glorious set and the costuming is spot on. Through their execution of the dialog the Milwaukee Rep players woo their audience back to a time when being cut off from the rest of the world only required a few inches of snow. This roving reporter was wooed by the players. Brendan Meyer as Christopher Wren is superb, taking a supporting character and making him go full throttle. Greg Vinkler (Mr. Paravicini) will make you laugh throughout. Greta Wohlrabe and Laura Gordon play their femmes to the hilt.

The intimacy of this theater is reminiscent of times gone by, but it is a time anyone who’s ever loved the theater should look to share.

There’s something about Agatha (Christie; that is). For people of my age our first rainy days of summer were spent reading the lady. For the younger set? THE MOUSETRAP is the most cunning marketing ploy of all time. Acclaimed international best-seller Agatha Christie decides to write a play and never publish it in print form. The Mousetrap opened in the West End of London in 1952, and has been running continuously since then. It has by far the longest initial run of any play in history, with its 25,000th performance taking place on 18 November 2012. While the “surprise” ending may not surprise today as it did in 1952 every line of dialog continues to sing sixty years later and in the hands of this troupe it shines.

See it if you can. The Milwaukee Rep’s production of Agatha Christie’s THE MOUSETRAP runs now through December 20th.

Ruth Jordan

 

Erica Neubauer:
From the set to the cast, everything about the Milwaukee Rep’s production of The Mousetrap was nothing short of fabulous. The cast brought plenty of humor to the set–especially the part of Christopher Wren, played to the hilt by Brendan Meyer. I’m sure Wren has never appeared more eccentric on the stage. The role of Mr. Paravicini was such a fantastic and hilarious pastiche of David Suchet’s Hercule Poirot, that I had to look at whether Poirot was expected to arrive as our lead detective. (He was not.) Hat tip to Greg Vinkler for the outstanding performance.

This isn’t to say that the rest of the cast paled by comparison. By no means. Each actor seemed a perfect fit for the role and gave great performances. I couldn’t have asked for a lovelier and more entertaining evening at the theatre. I recommend buying your tickets while you can–and in such an intimate theatre space, it seems there isn’t a bad seat in the place.

From press release:
Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s 2015/16 Quadracci Powerhouse season continues with The Mousetrap, a celebration of the 125th Anniversary of Agatha Christie’s birth. A family-friendly whodunit, this classic has thrilled sold-out houses on London’s West End for over 60 years. A murder is committed at a newly opened rooming house, and the snowbound hosts and guests—with the aid of a police inspector—must determine who the killer is before he or she strikes again. Rep Favorite J.R. Sullivan directs a cast of stage veterans to realize Christie’s masterfully woven plot, luring in audiences before delivering an unforgettable final twist!
The cast features Rep Associate Artist Jonathan Gillard Daly (Milwaukee Rep: Harvey, Cabaret, The Diary of Anne Frank; First Stage: Big Fish), now in his twentieth season as an actor at The Rep, as Major Metcalf; Lunt-Fontanne Fellow and Rep Associate Artist Laura Gordon (Milwaukee Rep: Good People, Harvey, Noises Off ) as Mrs. Boyle; and Greg Vinkler (three Joseph Jefferson Awards, two Artisan Awards, an After Dark Award; Broadway: West Side Story, 2009), the Artistic Director of Peninsula Players Theatre in Door County, as Mr. Paravicini. The cast also includes Milwaukee favorites Greta Wohlrabe (2010/11 Artistic Intern Ensemble Member; Milwaukee Rep: Venus in Fur, Clybourne Park, Cabaret) as Miss Casewell and Kelley Faulkner (Milwaukee Rep: Harvey, Noises Off, Ragtime, The Diary of Anne Frank, Cabaret, Always-Patsy Cline, Assassins) as Mollie Ralston. Rounding out the cast are Will Allan (Steppenwolf Theatre: Good People, Animal Farm; Goodman Theatre: The Seagull, Dartmoor Prison) as Detective Sergeant Trotter; Brendan Meyer (American Players Theatre: American Buffalo, Alcestis, Romeo and Juliet; Steppenwolf Theatre: Lord of the Flies) as Christopher Wren; and Matthew Mueller (Drury Lane Oakbrook: Peter and the Starcatcher; Utah Shakespeare Festival: Romeo and Juliet) as Giles Ralston.

About Milwaukee Repertory Theater:
Milwaukee Rep is a nationally-recognized company that presents compelling dramas, powerful classics, award-winning contemporary works and full-scale musicals housed in its three unique performance venues – the Quadracci Powerhouse, Stiemke Studio and Stackner Cabaret. The Rep also produces an annual production of A Christmas Carol, celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2015, at the beautiful and historic Pabst Theater. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Mark Clements and Managing Director Chad Bauman, Milwaukee Repertory Theater ignites positive change in the cultural, social, and economic vitality of its community by creating world-class theater experiences that entertain, provoke, and inspire meaningful dialogue among an audience representative of Milwaukee’s rich diversity.

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