(photo credit: Brian Negin)
Ramat Rachel, Jerusalem
No wonder Agatha Christie’s play The Mousetrap has been running in London for more than 50 years. It’s clever, engaging, humorous and well paced. And JEST’s production of the classic murder mystery more than did it justice. Deftly directed by JEST veteran Leah Stoller and playing to a full house, the two-hour performance was a pleasure to watch from beginning to end. The acting belied the category of “amateur theater.” Every character portrayal was spot-on as the British would say. The set design was well executed, too, effectively recreating an English guest house of the 1950s.
Mollie and Giles Ralston, the young couple who own the newly opened
Monskwell Manor, were played by Malka Abrahams and Simon Montagu.
Although the two were a little older than the scripted newlyweds, once
it was established who the pair were supposed to be, they fit plausibly
into their roles. And the guests were a joy to behold. Every quirky
character was expertly portrayed, from the hyperactive young architect
Christopher Wren (Yonatan Berman), the snobbish matron Mrs. Boyle
(Jeanette Edry) and the pompous retired military man Major Metcalf
(Marvin Meital) to the feisty spinster Miss Casewell (Rivka Hirsch) and
the flamboyant businessman Mr. Paravicini (Sam Minskoff) – and the
dedicated Detective Sergeant Trotter (Mark Johnson) who came to
investigate the crime. Each conveyed his or her character without being
clichéd or over the top. In fact, the handsome young Johnson embodied
his role so convincingly, that it felt as if you were watching a real
British detective at work.
The only disappointment I had about the smoothly paced performance was
that it went by so quickly. I could have easily sat there and enjoyed
the proceedings for another two hours.