Yes, we realise this is a London Theatre we are talking about and we are SOUTH WALES LIFE, but a show reopening this year is something we didn’t think we’d see.
There has been talk about theatre’s not being able to deal with social distancing, how impractical the whole process would be and simply not a viable proposition. Now we hear that Agatha Christie’s THE MOUSETRAP – the longest running show in the world, which had to be suspended when the Coronavirus Pandemic resulted in the closure of UK theatres – is to re-open in the West End on Friday 23rd October.
Before we tell you about the show and what plans they have in place, I think it’s relevant to mention St Martin’s Theatre which is right in the heart of the West End. This place has been around for a long time.
It has been the home of The Mousetrap since 1974, making it the longest continuous run of any show in the world.
The first production at the St Martin’s was the spectacular Edwardian musical comedy Houp La!, starring Gertie Millar, which opened on 23 November 1916. The producer was the impresario Charles B. Cochran, who took a 21-year lease on the new theatre.
It was designed by W. G. R. Sprague as one of a pair of theatres, along with the Ambassadors Theatre, also in West Street. Richard Verney, 19th Baron Willoughby de Broke, together with B. A. (Bertie) Meyer, commissioned Sprague to design the theatre buildings. Although the Ambassadors opened in 1913, construction of the St Martin’s was delayed by the outbreak of the First World War. The theatre is still part-owned by the present Lord Willoughby de Broke, with Stephen Waley-Cohen.
Many famous British actors passed through the St Martin’s. In April 1923 Basil Rathbone played Harry Domain in R.U.R. and in June 1927 Henry Daniell appeared there as Gregory Brown in Meet the Wife. Successes at the theatre included Hugh Williams’s play (later a film) The Grass is Greener, John Mortimer’s The Wrong Side of the Park, and in 1970 the thriller Sleuth.
After Cochran, Bertie Meyer ran the theatre intermittently until 1967, when his son R. A. (Ricky) Meyer became administrator for the next two decades. The St Martin’s was Grade II listed by English Heritage in March 1973.
In March 1974 The Mousetrap transferred from the Ambassadors to the St Martin’s, where it continues its run today, holding the record for the longest continuously running show in the world. It has exceeded 28,000 performances at the St Martin’s.
We tell you all this because it is an old, but beautiful theatre. It’s not a modern building with great big wide seats. The toilets are as you’d expect in a building like this. So, with that in mind, we can only applaud St Martin’s staff for coming up with a plan to get our bums well and truly back on theatre seats.
THE MOUSETRAP will re-open at the St. Martin’s Theatre in accordance with the Government stipulations for Stage Four of the recently announced Road Map for the return of live theatre and music.
The West End production of The Mousetrap was originally adapted from Agatha Christie’s radio play, Three Blind Mice, written for the Royal family in 1947. The Mousetrap has been intriguing and delighting audiences for as long as Queen Elizabeth II has been on the throne. It is the genre-defining murder mystery from the world’s best-selling novelist of all time.
The play will celebrate 70 years in London in 2022. It has been performed 28,200 times in London and sold over 10 million tickets. The show has actually been intriguing and delighting audiences for as long as Queen Elizabeth II has been on the throne. It is, without any doubt, the genre-defining murder mystery from the world’s best-selling novelist of all time.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary in 2002, The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh attended a special Gala performance.
The show performs Monday – Saturday: 7.30pm, Tuesday & Thursday: 3pm and Saturday 4pm. It runs 2 hours and 20 minutes; this includes a 20-minute interval. Children under school age will not be permitted and the recommended age for the Mousetrap is 7 years and above. Children under the age of 16 will not be permitted into the auditorium without an adult present. All children must have their own ticket.
If you’d like more details and can make the trip to London for a long awaited helping of live theatre, go here. MOUSETRAP