It’s no mystery why Agatha Christie’s suspense classic The Mousetrap has been celebrated for 61 years on the London stage. And when the murder drama debuts Friday at the Valentine Theatre’s Studio A theater at 410 Adams St., it is bound to fascinate Toledo audiences. The plot is vintage Christie, with colorful characters and plenty of twists and turns.
The Mousetrap, which was first presented in London in October, 1952, is set in the 1950s in Monkswell Manor in the English countryside. The play opens with a murder in London. The action then moves to the manor house, which is now a guesthouse run by Mollie and Giles Ralston. The guests become snowed in and hear about the London murder on the radio. Soon, Detective Sgt. Trotter arrives and tells them he believes a murderer is on his way to the hotel. When one of the guests is killed, the others know that the murderer is already there. The cat-and-mouse game begins as Detective Trotter sets his trap for the killer.
“They're all stuck in the manor and pretty sure that one of them is the murderer,” says director Elizabeth Cottle, who is also the Valentine's director of support services. Suspense builds as suspicion grows among the characters and the audience gets drawn into solving the mystery, she added.
In the 80-seat Studio A, a black-box (relatively unadorned) theater, the audience is positioned around the stage, adding to the intimacy of the experience. The cast includes Marissa Rex as Mollie Ralston, Max Devolder as Giles Ralston, Eric Simpson as Christopher Wren, Rhonda Cowell as Mrs. Boyle, Nick Morgan as Major Metcalf, Laura Crawford as Miss Casewell, Lane Hakel as Mr. Paravicini, and Taylor Weathers as Detective Sgt. Trotter.
Cottle has been performing locally for years. “I did the school plays and musicals as a student at Central Catholic High School, and went on to study theater at Ohio Northern University in Ada. Since graduating from Ohio Northern in 2006 with a BFA in communication arts and musical theater, I’ve had the opportunity to perform in more than 20 local theater productions with the Toledo Repertoire Theatre, Village Players, Waterville Playshop, and others,” she said in an email.
“The Mousetrap” will be presented Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Valentine Theatre Studio A, 410 Adams St. around the corner from the main theater entrance. Tickets are $20 general admission, and may be purchased at valentinetheatre.com or 419-242-2787. Additional performances are Oct. 11 and 12 at 8 p.m., Oct. 13 at 2 p.m., Oct. 25 and 26 at 8 p.m., and Oct. 27 at 2 p.m.
The Nobodies of Comedy tour returns to the Ritz Theatre in Tiffin Saturday. The cast will include Kelly Collette, a finalist in 2012 for CMT’s Next Big Comic who is billed as an “unconventional sorority girl;” Matt Goldich, a stand-up comic who has appeared on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on CBS; Pete Lee, who joined the cast of VH1’s Best Week Ever this year; Mark Walton, who appears at comedy clubs, colleges, and festivals, and has been featured on Sirius Satellite Radio, and Tony Woods, who began his career as an original member of Russell Simmons’ Def Comedy Jam on HBO and was in the film The Brooklyn Project. His appearances include the HBO U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colo.
Nobodies of Comedy Tour will be presented Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Ritz Theatre, 30 S. Washington St., Tiffin. For tickets, which are $10, $15, and $25, call the box office at 419-448-8544, or go to www.ritztheatre.org.
The Toledo School for the Arts will present Oliver! The Musical in four performances beginning today at 7 p.m. at Owens Community College Center for Fine & Performing Arts, 30335 Oregon Rd., Perrysburg.
The musical is an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, about a boy who runs away from an orphanage and joins a group of boys trained to be pickpockets by an elderly mentor, Fagin.
At the end of each performance donations will be collected for Toledo’s Beach House shelter for homeless women and families.
Additional shows are Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Tickets, $14 for adults and $8 for students and seniors, can be purchased by calling 419-246-8732.
Have aliens visited Earth, or are we alone in the universe? Lourdes University’s Appold Planetarium will explore these questions and more in “SETI — The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence” at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 12 and 19 and Nov. 9 and 16, at the planetarium on the Lourdes campus. Laura Megeath, coordinator of the planetarium, says the programs will include a film and updates on recent explorations and discoveries in space. “SETI” will consider the possibilities of alien life and UFO visits, space travel, what aliens might be like, and methods scientists are using to get in touch.
Seating is limited so reservations are recommended. Call 419-517-8897 or email email@example.com. Tickets are $5 for adults, $4 for children under 12 and for Lourdes students with ID.
Send theater items two weeks in advance to Sue Brickey at firstname.lastname@example.org.