cynicale: Drew Sarich, Leanne Dobinson, Jon Robyns and Nancy Sullivan (Rebecca)
[personal profile] cynicale
While in London I also attended a performance of Agatha Christie's "The Mousetrap", apparently a must-see piece. It has been running since 1952, so it's clearly popular. I enjoy good crime-dramas on the telly, such as Inspector Morse, A Touch of Frost, Foyle's War and so on, but I must confess I've never been a fan of the Agatha Christie adaptions, nor the one book I tried reading once. I think it's because I never found her characters to be particularly engaging. In sum, I decided to watch a crime-drama, not a Christie piece.

The plot is typical of its kind - a group of people previously unknown to each other end up snowed in while visiting a remote hotel...then they hear about a murder that has been committed in London, and the murderer is one of the people currently present in the the question is "Who did it?" Detective Sergeant Trotter is determined to figure it out.

It's a good piece of theatre - new evidence pointing to one of the inhabitants is uncovered fairly often, the dialogue is good and the mannerisms of the characters are amusing. This is particularly the case with the character Christopher Wren (whose name-sake I through this play learned designed St. Paul's Cathedral). The set was also good, I particularly enjoyed how they used the window. But by the end of the first act I had two candidates lined up as the murderer, and I was certain almost immediately after the second act started. I was right. It doesn't exactly take a genius to figure it out by the process of elimination. So, I was slightly disappointed by the plot. Asking the audience to keep it a secret was ingenious though:)

Three names in a cast stood out to me. First of all, John Lyons as Major Metcalf (it's apparently his third run in the role). He Jack Frost's sidekick Det. Sgt.. George Toolan in "A Touch of Frost". The Major was my favourite character in "A Mousetrap", but I felt Lyons could have done more with the role, particularly taking into consideration the fact that he has played the role for years. Gary Tushaw (former Marius!) was excellent as Christopher Wren, and so was Ben Goddard (whom I saw as Joe Gillies in Sunset Boulevard last year) as Trotter. The rest of the cast, particularly Claire Little, was good as well.

While I attended this performance (2nd of October evening) Dad attended Blood Brothers again, entirely on his own volition. I'm so proud of him, I think it's his fifth or sixth time! I never thought I'd get him to love a musical:)

A few weeks ago I attended a live-transmission of the final performance of Richard Wagner's "Das Rheingold" at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. It was steamed in HD to my local cinema, and I only had to pay some 25 pounds to see it. "Das Rheingold" is the first of the four operas in the "Der Ring des Nibelungen" sequence, which also "Die Walküre" is a part of.

First of all, I adored it! I tend to get bored during operas, due to the seemingly endless arias and so on. I often end up thinking it's twice as long as it needs to be. This was not the case this time. A moment didn't pass when I didn't find Wagner's music thoroughly engaging. I've never listened to much of his music before, beyond that famous piece from "Die Walküre", but I'm definitely taking a closer look now.

When watching, I think having some knowledge of Norse mythology is an advantage. Though the gods didn't always have the same names as I'm used to it was fairly obvious who they were supposed to be. They acted like themselves. I often thought "YES, Loge, that's why I love you!" (Loge is obviously Loki, or Loke as I call him). I must say I never knew him to be some kind of lord of fire or whatever, but I can't say I minded. Also, as a Lord of the Rings fan I had a lot of fun:)

All the singers were excellent, particularly Stephanie Blythe as Fricka and Eric Owens as Alberich. I winced a bit at the casting of an African-American man as a dwarf frequently described as ugly who ends up being an unsympathetic character - doesn't seem particularly politically correct, that - but he was one of the highlights of the evening.

The set was very innovative, according to the documentary we were shown before the performance started quite revolutionary actually. I liked it a lot, particularly how Wotan and Loge traveled down to Nibelheim, but each set-change as it were took ages. Also, I found Loge backing up every time he had a line to stand above the others a bit strange.

Anyway, it was a hugely enjoyable experience. I'm definitely catching "Don Carlo" the 11th of December and probably "Le Comte Ory" the 9th of April and "Die Walküre" the 14th of May.

Date: 2010-10-25 09:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I saw the Mousetrap several years ago, but don't remember much about it, although your description of the set sounds vaguely familiar. I used to be an avid Agatha Christie fan, and was at the time I saw the play. It's worn off a bit now, although I suspect that may have more to do with the fact I've run out of books to read. I agree with you that the characters are rather flat, but I never really read them as literature, it was more like investigating how a piece of machinery works, if that makes any sense. I never guessed who the murderer was, but that was because I never tried. I just devoured the book, and took everything as it came, and never really applied myself to solving it. I do remember not enjoying the Mousetrap as much as I had hoped, although I'm sure it was still enjoyable enough. It might be something I'd be interested in seeing again, though, with a somewhat different perspective.

Date: 2010-10-25 11:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The characters is always the most important feature in any story for me. Discovering their motivations, feelings and ideas is what makes me want to read on, not the genre or who the creator is. As long as the plot is not completely hopeless I'll keep reading in order to feel connected:) Then, when the characters are flat...

I'm only very rarely able to figure out the mysteries, The Mousetrap was in that sense a fluke;)


cynicale: Drew Sarich, Leanne Dobinson, Jon Robyns and Nancy Sullivan (Default)

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