Last night I attended The Lehi City Arts Council’s The Mousetrap. As this was my first visit to the Lehi Arts Center, I was pleasantly surprised to walk into a tiny theatre that was jam-packed with an audience of all ages. The small venue and eager audience made the perfect setting for a classic murder mystery play. From the moment the house lights dimmed to the moment the actors took their bows, the audience was enraptured by the performance. I was almost as delighted to watch the audience as I was to watch the show itself, as I noted a young girl sitting at the edge of her chair completely entranced by the action onstage and an elderly man just behind her in the same exact position. This type of audience involvement is rare for most straight shows, but the cast of Lehi’s The Mousetrap did a marvelous job of drawing us into another time and place for a frighteningly enjoyable evening.
While the script alone is an amazing piece of work, the actors came together to form an ensemble that made the production truly glow. There was palpable energy in the room as the tension rose and the plot thickened. Lacey Jackson did an incredible job of portraying Mollie Ralston and was greatly aided by the efforts of Paul Morley as Christopher Wren. The two actors shared a special bond onstage, welcoming the audience into their friendship. Nathaniel Brown added to this sense of intimacy in his role as Detective Sergeant Trotter by asking the audience to question nearly everyone and everything seemingly known in the world of the play. These three actors gave beautiful and honest performances, acting as the backbone to the cast and weaving a beautiful web of fear, deceit, and suspicion.
My only disappointment with this production came in the pacing of the final few minutes. Needless to say, it was quite a good show despite this misgiving. Like most murder mysteries, the play builds to a pivotal moment, the mystery is revealed, and the characters are left to put the remaining pieces of the puzzle together for the audience. I don’t want to divulge too much, as I was sworn to secrecy upon leaving the theater never to reveal the great mystery. Therefore, I will try to be as vague as possible in saying that the audience was in great shock following the big reveal. Unfortunately, the actors seemed to rush through the final scene and information flowed forth faster than the audience could take it in. This hurried pace felt unnatural and departed from the otherwise organic ensemble performance of the evening.
Overall, the production was one filled with a great deal of talent and several laughs. Each character was well rounded and expertly brought to life by the cast, creating a perfectly peculiar bunch of individuals. The energy and rising tension culminated in an eerie chill moving throughout the theater. I was particularly impressed with The Lehi City Arts Council’s selection of The Mousetrap, placing this offbeat play right at the heart of Halloween season. The creepy tone and high suspense of the night were entirely in sync with the spooky entertainment we all love to see this time of year, making this show one deadly trap you won’t mind being caught in the middle of.
The Lehi City Arts Council presents “The Mousetrap” performing October 19-29 at 7:30 at the Lehi Arts Center. Visit the Lehi Arts Council Website for more details and upcoming productions.