The Mousetrap | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

The Mousetrap 

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The Mousetrap, Drury Lane Oakbrook. Misdirection is usually a bad thing in theater, but in William Osetek's staging of Agatha Christie's 1952 mystery, it's the point. As sturdy and irresistible as its title, The Mousetrap disperses suspicion so splendidly that all the characters trapped in Monkswell Manor by a blizzard seem murderers. The suspects are a hyper young paranoiac passing himself off as an architect, a harridan judge with her own rap sheet, a no-nonsense major who's just too unflappable, a mysterious Italian stranger who improbably dropped by, a mannish spinster, a driven local constable, and the married couple running the manse, who made secret journeys to London the day the first victim was killed.

Christie's tightly written dialogue offers many red herrings--and Osetek's octet serves every one as if it were caviar. The pace never slackens, and the air of artful confusion crackles as the suspects set one another off like--well, mousetraps. The performances are so solid it would take a court order to separate the actors from their parts.

Thousands of people must have seen this thriller since 1952 and not given away the murderer's identity. But even when you know whodunit, the dialogue is fascinating for its double meanings.

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