Trapping a classic

Arvada Center hosts Agatha Christie’s masterpiece

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The longest-running stage play in the world will open up the Arvada Center’s 2014 season with plenty of mystery, dry humor and wit to go around.

Agatha Christie’s classic “The Mousetrap” has been delighting audiences in London’s West End for 61 years, and will run at the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., Jan. 28 through Feb. 23.

Performances will be Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday at 1 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Due to increased demand 1 p.m. matinees have been added on Thursday, Feb. 6, 13 and 20.

“Agatha Christie is one of the most translated writers in the world and ‘The Mousetrap’ is one of the works that Christie-philes know best,” Pat Payne, director of the show said.

According to Payne, “The Mousetrap” tells the story of a group of strangers stranded in a country inn during a snowstorm. There is a murder and a detective shows up to investigate the case, and as he does everyone comes under suspicion as secrets and past misdeeds are revealed.

“I’ve directed other Agatha Christie plays, and I love her characters and stories,” Payne said. “There are lots of red herrings in the story and it really keeps the audiences guessing.”

The ending is historically famous, as is the dedication the keeping that ending secret from people who haven’t seen the show. Payne said the theater is looking to maintain that secrecy and is hoping people who know the ending won’t spoil it for others.

The cast is made up of some Arvada Center favorites as well as Kathleen Brady, a veteran of the Denver Center Theatre Company, who is making her debut at the center.

“I’ve never done an Agatha show before, but I’m really enjoying it,” Brady said. “There is such a diverse number of characters and there aren’t a lot of similarities between them, which makes it interesting.”

Brady plays Mrs. Boyle, who she describes as a woman who used to be wealthy, but is now having a hard time adjusting to the mannerisms and changes of the times. She’s not used to the way things are, Brady added, and is straight forward and honest about what she thinks.

“I love grand dames who are a little step out of the times,” Brady said.

Graham Ward, who was last seen at the center in “Around the World in 80 Days,” plays Detective Sergeant Trotter. Ward describes the detective as someone who is trying to put the case together but doesn’t quite take things are seriously as everyone else.

“We don’t know much about him outside of the case,” Ward said. “All the other characters are trying to make transformations and get through things but he’s focused on solving the case.”

Ward said one of the most challenging parts about Trotter is the cockney slang accent that occasionally slips out.

For Payne, who is a very collaborative director, putting the show together has been a great process thanks to the people he is working with.

“With a cast and crew who are so talented it makes things as a director very easy,” he said. “The design staff just comes in and creates — they are continually adding details to the set.”

Payne, Brady and Ward said the show has something for everyone, and is a great whodunnit for mystery fans.

“I think of it as dessert because it’s such a yummy piece of theater,” Payne said. “The mystery is fantastic — we sold you the whole seat, but you’re only going to need the edge of it.”

For tickets and more information call 720-898-7200 or visit www.arvadacenter.org.

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