Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap

The Tillamook Association for the Performing Arts (TAPA) and Happy Camp Hideaway, along with TLC Federal Credit Union, are pleased to bring the production of Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap to Tillamook, which opens on January 20.

The Mousetrap takes place at Monkswell Manor in the English Countryside in the 1950s. Playing the newlywed owners of Monkswell Manor Bed and Breakfast are Robert Kratz and Ami Ericson. Shortly after the play begins, Monkswell Manor is visited by guests portrayed by Harrison Kaiser, Karen Martin, Richard Coon, Tatjana Queener, and Phil Gregg. A snowstorm moves in and traps everyone at the manor, cutting them off from civilization. By the end of the following day, someone is dead. In typical Agatha Christie style, we have the pleasure of watching a sleuth piece the puzzle together and in this case the sleuth is portrayed by Steele Fleisher.

The Mousetrap opened in London at the Ambassadors Theater in 1952, then moved to St. Martin’s Theater in 1974 (where it has been running ever since), which makes it the longest running play of modern times. By tradition, at the end of each performance, audiences are asked not to reveal the identity of the killer to anyone outside the theater, to ensure that the end of the play is not spoiled for future audiences. Agatha Christie gave the rights of The Mousetrap to her grandson as a birthday present and one of the stipulations was that no film version can be produced until the original production has been closed for at least six months. The Mousetrap has won audiences over for decades largely to do with Agatha Christie’s popularity as the “Queen of Crime” racking up a record breaking 25,000 performances. Therefore, a film adaptation has never been made.

This is TAPA’s first foray into the numerous (87 total) works of Christie. Focusing on the British middle and upper classes, Agatha Christie’s stories are whodunits sometimes set in an old country estate in England or in a mansion on a mysterious island or during a frightening train ride, etc. The murders are often extremely ingenious, involving some convoluted piece of deception. Agatha Christie’s style is almost a genre in itself. Her stories are rich in taut atmosphere and incredibly well- developed characters who work through a story woven in strong psychological suspense, and all are delivered with her deliberate yet gripping slow pace.

Taking the helm of this production is fourth time director Robert Buckingham. In 2009 Robert directed his first production with TAPA, which was the satirical thriller Murder by the Book. Since then he also directed the chilling drama The Beauty Queen of Leenane in 2010 and Neil Simon’s all-American comedy The Star-Spangled Girl last year.

The Mousetrap will be performed at The Barn Community Playhouse located at 12th and Ivy in Tillamook on Jan 20, 21, 27, 28, 29, then wraps up on Feb 3 and 4. All performances begin at 7:00 p.m. with the exception of the matinée on January 29th, which begins at 2:00 p.m. Doors open one-half hour prior to curtain. There will be an opening night “Champagne Gala” celebration on January 20. The purchase of a ticket includes one beverage on opening night only. Advance tickets and reservations are available through Diamond Art Jewelers at (503) 842-7940. Tickets are going fast so be sure to reserve your seats today. For information please contact and find us on facebook.

Pictured in back from left to right are Harrison Kaiser, Ami Ericson, Robert Kratz, Steele Fleisher & Phil Gregg. Pictured in front from left to right are Karen Martin, Richard Coon & Tatjana Queener.