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FairfaxEducationCAPPIES: Strong cast does justice to 'The Mousetrap'

CAPPIES: Strong cast does justice to ‘The Mousetrap’

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by PENELOPE WAGNER, Wakefield High School

Murder! Intrigue! Mystery! What could be more exciting than that? How about a surprise-twist ending that has captivated audiences for nearly 70 years?!

You can find all this and more in Justice High School’s production of “The Mousetrap,” a dynamic show that kept audience members on the edge of their seats for the entire performance.

Written by murder-mystery icon Agatha Christie, “The Mousetrap” is an enthralling story about a group of strangers trapped by a blizzard in a newly opened guest house. They soon discover there is a murderer among them and must reveal their pasts one-by-one to find the true killer.

Originally opened in London’s West End in 1952, “The Mousetrap” is the world’s longest-running play and ran until the pandemic forced its shuttering in March 2020.

During a heavy snowstorm, five guests arrived, each with a dynamic personality. These guests, plus the detective-sergeant and the owners of the guest house, individually brought a great deal to the play. But Justice’s performance would not be what it was without the radio players.

These actors who periodically portrayed voices on the radio throughout the show, gave helpful information and updates about the snowstorm and the murderer on the loose to the audience. They also brought joy into the theater with three lighthearted musical performances that impressed the audience while also capturing the feel of the 1950s.

“The Mousetrap” is a play that requires a great ensemble of characters who must play off one another while also standing out in their own ways.

There were multiple performances worth noting. Sara Kaufman had the hard job of portraying Mollie Ralston, the co-owner of the guest house. Kaufman conquered the challenging role as she had a strong stage presence and a likable personality in every scene.

Another actor who made an impact on the stage was Daniel Azcarate as Detective Sergeant Trotter. Azcarate brought an impressively realistic and versatile portrayal as the detective, who was determined to discover the identity of the murderer.

While this show had a more serious and dramatic tone, its comedic moments could not be ignored. Many of these fantastic instances were provided by the character of Mr. Paravicini as played by Valeria Peterson, who had superb comedic timing. Also notable was Sofia Hemmens’ touching performance as Miss Casewell. Hemmens expertly provided a guarded character who slowly broke down as act two progressed.

“The Mousetrap” wouldn’t be as good of a production if it were not for the expertise of the stage managers (Elizabeth Cheek, Cate Pringle, Ketan Kane, Benny Ward), who made sure the show ran smoothly and who managed the lighting and sound cues.

Also contributing was the lighting and sound crew team of Ketan Kane, Benny Ward, Ava Feldstein, Amira Mohamed. These students showed impressive skills in lighting techniques and handled the simple but important job of making sure everyone was heard.

Transporting the audience back to 1950s England, Justice’s remarkable production of “The Mousetrap” was humorous, engaging and left audiences with a memory they’ll never forget.

The Sun Gazette partners with the Critics and Awards Program (CAPPIES) to present student-written reviews of local high school theater productions.
For more on the initiative, see the Web site at www.cappies.com/nca/.

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