The Mousetrap celebrates 60 years on stage this year and to mark the occasion a special gala performance of the Agatha Christie play took place in London’s West End last night.
Pooling together a host of famous faces – including Downton Abbey actor Hugh Bonneville, comedian Miranda Hart and actors Patrick Stewart and Tamsin Greig – the one-off production was put together by Phyllida Lloyd, director of the Mamma Mia film and The Iron Lady, as well as a string of other West End shows.
Joining them on stage were Julie Walters, Iain Glen, Robin Hood actor Harry Lloyd and Chariots of Fire star Nicholas Farrell, in front of an audience at the play’s home – The St Martin’s Theatre
The cast performed a staged reading in costume after having less than 24 hours to learn their lines and memorise stage directions, with Tamsin Greig – who played the role of Mrs Ralston – relieved she hadn’t misplaced any of the play’s many props: “Can you imagine if I had put them in the wrong place, and not hidden them away?!”
Hugh Bonneville added, “Tonight was the 25,000th performance and tomorrow will be the 25,000th professional performance, so that is pretty special. I’m very proud to be part of such a great legacy. I think she (Christie) has given work to all of us over the years.”
And Star Trek actor Patrick Stewart confessed to having never seen the play before: “I came to see it last night for the first time, and I thought ‘how has this passed me by?'”
Agatha Christie’s play first opened to audiences in 1952 with Richard Attenborough and Sheila Sim in the leading roles and has held the record for the world’s longest-running show since 1958. In its 60 years it has been translated into 50 languages and performed by 403 actors and 235 understudies.
Following last night’s special performance, a memorial celebrating Christie was unveiled in Covent Garden by her grandson Matthew Prichard who received the play’s royalties as a present for his ninth birthday.