Tag Archives: Lewis Chandler

The Mousetrap


Theatre Royal Windsor & UK Tour

The Mousetrap

The Mousetrap

Theatre Royal Windsor

Reviewed – 21st October 2019



“part of a great and uniquely British theatrical tradition”


Dame Agatha Christie was seemingly mystified by the astonishing success of her ‘Mousetrap’ which has long been the world’s longest running play. After 67 years of continuous performances, this entertaining murder mystery with a surprise twist continues to fill seats at St Martin’s Theatre in London. Just one official tour is allowed and it is currently in residence at the Theatre Royal Windsor until 26 October before continuing its national tour to May 2020.

The story concerns a young couple who open their manor house in Berkshire to the public as a guest house for the first time one freezing, snow-bound night when communications are cut and anything, even murder, might happen… It’s hard to imagine a radical new take on the piece. Perhaps set it in an Airbnb in a New York loft? It would never work. Like the magnificently upholstered classic that it is, this show gently purrs along, faithfully mirroring both the look and sound of the popular period West End show. The opulent and baronial set is there, as are the period costumes and cut-glass accents together with all the assumptions and prejudices of the post-war period.

A cast of eight assume the roles of the guest house’s proprietors (Nick Biadon and Harriet Hare) and their five guests (Susan Penhaligion, David Alcock, Lewis Chandler, John Griffiths and Saskia Vaigncourt-Strallen). Geoff Arnold is Sergeant Trotter. On the night I saw it, Susan Penhaligon (Upstairs Downstairs, Bergerac, Emmerdale) was indisposed and her role was confidently filled by her understudy, Judith Rae. She was nicely ratty as a crusty grande dame. Most of the guests are amusing character roles, with mannered performances that verge on caricature.

As the very camp Christopher Wren, Lewis Chandler had a laugh that seemed to be channelling Kenneth Williams, and made a big impact. David Alcock gave a nicely observed performance as a sinister Signor Paravicini, and there were other strong performances from Saskia Vaigncourt-Strallen and John Griffiths. Nick Biadon, Harriet Hare and Geoff Arnold give assured performances in their respective roles.

Dame Agatha herself said ‘it’s the kind of play you could take anyone to. It’s not really frightening. It’s not really horrible. It’s not really a farce, but it has a little bit of all these things and perhaps that satisfies a lot of different people’. Agatha Christie gave the rights to this most successful of plays to her grandson. In the spirit of giving back to the theatre world, Mousetrap Theatre Projects, the industry’s leading educational charity, is run by the current owner of the play’s rights.

This really is a play that keeps on giving. It offers a good night out and is part of a great and uniquely British theatrical tradition.


Reviewed by David Woodward

Photography by Johan Persson


The Mousetrap

Theatre Royal Windsor until 26th October then UK tour continues


Previously reviewed at this venue:
The Trials Of Oscar Wilde | ★★★★ | March 2019
Octopus Soup! | ★★½ | April 2019


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Foul Pages – 3 Stars


Foul Pages

Hope Theatre

Reviewed – 22nd February 2018


“The production created an exciting, modern aesthetic”


Last night I was invited to see the Hope Theatre’s in-house production of Foul Pages. Directed by Matthew Parker, and written by Robin Hooper, it was a wonderfully different take on the history of the Pembrokes, and the Countesses’ involvement in the production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It.

I entered into a very cosy theatre space, welcomed by the comforting sounds of a fire crackling, setting the tone for perhaps a slightly different play. The script managed to encompass the vibe and charm of a Shakespearean comedy, without stalling in its language, and was still unapologetically queer. This, along with the general aesthetic of the play, lent a contemporary feel to the production, largely due to the period inspired, modern fashion choices in the costume.

Chop, played by James King, brought an interesting aspect to the play, which at first I was dubious about, however I was quickly swayed by King’s relentless cheeriness, and cheeky chap aurora. Another cheeky chap in the cast, had to be Alex, played by Lewis Chandler, who encompassed the angsty emo theatre kid fantastically. His energy shone throughout the performance, as did his and the players’ chemistry together. I will say however, that some of the acting was a tad melodramatic; it would have worked in a much bigger space, but in this small theatre, it was overwhelming. This could be said for the transitions as well, which seemed out of sync with the rest of the production. There were a few moments that didn’t seem to ‘fit’ into the plot.

With regard to the story line, I became lost. There seemed to be an endless number of plot lines, many of which felt underdeveloped. The same could also be said for some of the characters – for example, the two female characters began very well, however soon descended into stereotypes. I think the script would benefit from a longer run time, and the audience would benefit from a short interval, if not just to get some air. This, I think, might help the pacing, as in certain areas the play seemed to stall.

All in all, I really enjoyed the play, despite the moments that were out of sync and, perhaps, the clunky pacing. The production created an exciting, modern aesthetic, without falling into the trap of butchering the Shakespeare language just for laughs. They still managed to get me to laugh out loud for most of the performance. It was a funny, enjoyable and unapologetically queer take on a rather unknown part of Shakespearean history.


Reviewed by Charlotte Hurford

Photography by LHPhotoshots


Foul Pages

Hope Theatre until 17th March



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