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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 25, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 4
Mouse in the house - Village Theatre brings London's longest-running play to Seattle
Arts & Entertainment
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Mouse in the house - Village Theatre brings London's longest-running play to Seattle

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

THE MOUSETRAP
VILLAGE THEATRE
Through February 24 (Issaquah)
March 1 - 24 (Everett)


A play that has been running forever (well, since 1952) in London is being given a fresh new mounting at Village Theatre. Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap is a fun whodunit in the classic theatrical style, and the trappings are, as usual, Village's sumptuous set (by Jason Phillips), particularly on-point period costumes (by costumer extraordinaire Deane Middleton), quick-change lighting (by Aaron Copp), and spooky sound design (by Brent Warwick), joined together in the capable hands of director Jeff Steitzer.

The cast is the real delight, though, with some of your favorite Seattle-area talent playing up the creaky characters for all they're worth. The basic plot is that a young couple (Hana Lass and Richard Nguyen Sloniker) have opened a B&B just that day and four planned guests arrive, just as the news reports a nearby murder. As the radio describes someone wearing a dark overcoat, light scarf, and soft hat, everyone entering the house takes off exactly those garments! Obviously, the description fits a wide range of suspects.

They all get snowed in, but are rung up by the local police telling them a detective is coming over, which puts the couple in a panic, thinking they've done something wrong in opening their hotel. Also, a mysterious man shows up needing somewhere to stay after his car has gotten stuck. Once the detective arrives, everyone becomes not only a potential murder victim but also a potential suspect. Secrets abound!

POINTING FINGERS
Besides figuring out who is what, you'll have a great time just watching the silliness unfold, with Quinn Armstrong playing a young architect with odd quirks and strange facial expressions, who quivers in the corner claiming everyone will suspect him, unjustly. Ellen McLain disappears (as she typically does) inside a thoroughly unlikable ex-judge. You wouldn't think she was anyone you'd like to know in person, but offstage she is one of the friendliest persons you could meet. When she's the first to be murdered, she's the last to be missed - except you wish she could stick around and act more for you.

David Pichette's over-the-top-suspicious foreign-accented stranger, who is described as disguised and painted with rouge in some dialogue, is also fun to watch. You can't help but think he's the killer. But then, he's too obvious a suspect. But then, he's so obvious you think that he's not, so he must be!

The rest of the cast includes Jared Michael Brown as the police detective who leads everyone to suspect everyone else, Jennifer Lee Taylor who plays a manly woman who barely reveals anything about who she is or why she's there, and R. Hamilton Wright as an Army major who seems totally above reproach - we think.

While it seems the young couple, at least, are beyond suspicion, we realize that the very first time we see them, Mollie (Lass) and Giles (Sloniker) have both just come in from outside with packages that they hide. So, yup, they have secrets too!

If you don't know the story, you'll have a lot of fun discovering it, and if you do, you'll still have fun watching these hams ham it up. For more information, go to www.villagetheatre.org or call (425) 392-2202.

Discuss your opinions with sgncritic@gmail.com or go to www.facebook.com/SeattleTheaterWriters.

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