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St Martin’s Theatre

  • Theatre
  • Seven Dials
Mousetrap_St Martin\'s Theatre.JPG
The Mousetrap

Time Out says

Clued up Agatha Christie fans head to this theatre for long-running hit 'The Mousetrap'

You don't have to be Poirot to uncover why 'The Mousetrap' has been running for over six decades, making it the world's longest running play: it's a firm favourite with detective fiction fans from both the UK and from overseas. And with only 550 seats, St Martin's Theatre is small enough to be able to reliably fill its auditorium. 

'The Mousetrap' pitched up at St Martin's Theatre in 1974, having begun life at Ambassadors Theatre in 1953. But before it arrived, the St Martin's had other claims to fame. In 1970, it staged another detective thriller, 'Sleuth', after a long lineage of small-scale dramas starring big names including Basil Rathbone. 

St Martin's Theatre was first built in 1916, with a low-key style at odds with its flashier West End neighbours. Inside, its dark wood-panelled auditorium has a cosy, slightly scruffy feel, inspired by a Georgian manor house, but feeling more like a raffish gentlemens' club. The seats, in keeping with the theatre's age, are a bit on the cramped side, with steep rakes in the balcony. But maybe it just adds to the suspense, for a venue that's all about good old-fashioned '50s style thrills. 


West Street, Cambridge Circus
Tube: Leicester Square
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What’s on

The Mousetrap

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Drama

At the end of this elegant Agatha Christie thriller, the newly uncovered homicidal maniac steps into a sinister spotlight and warns everyone never to reveal his or her identity. The production recently celebrated its 60th birthday and although Wikipedia and Stephen Fry have both blown the murderer's cover, there is a remarkable conspiracy of silence over 'The Moustrap'. The real mystery of the world's longest-running theatre show is not whodunit but, in its currently mediocre state, whydoit at all? 'The Mousetrap's ticket prices are the only element of this show that isn't stuck fast in the 1950s – although the actors' strained RP does make the odd break for the twenty-first century. Otherwise, this is a walking, talking piece of theatre history and – at £39 for a full-price stalls seat – the most expensive museum exhibit in London. Christie's neat puzzler of a plot is easier to defend. It has defied the inevitably mummifying process of more than 25,000 performances and still possesses an uncanny precision worthy of the mistress of murder's chilling geriatric creation, Miss Marple. In the 60 years since it premiered, its premise, in which six Cluedo-like middle-class stereotypes are imprisoned by snow in a country house while they try to fathom which of them is a raving murderer, has become a cliché, just as the authorities' response to adverse weather conditions (skiing coppers? In Berkshire?) have become a nostalgic memory. It's fascinating to glimpse the ghost of Peter Cot

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