Student hits the Agatha Christie half million mark

PUBLISHED: 20:45 08 May 2014 | UPDATED: 20:45 08 May 2014

Victoria Bishop is presented with her show ticket and programme on the stage set of The Mousetrap by cast members Chris Gilling and Anne Kavanagh.

Victoria Bishop is presented with her show ticket and programme on the stage set of The Mousetrap by cast members Chris Gilling and Anne Kavanagh.

Archant

Drama student becomes the 500,000th person to see the Diamond Jubilee tour of The Mousetrap when it arrives in Barnstaple.

A drama student won a theatrical treat when she became the 500,000 member of the audience as Agatha Christie’s enduring whodunit The Mousetrap arrived in Barnstaple.

Victoria Bishop, 20, won a prime seat for the show at the Queen’s Theatre, a signed programme and a rare opportunity to meet the cast backstage after going along to enjoy the matinee showing today (Thursday).

For more than 50 years, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap has played in the West End and become been the world’s longest running stage production.

This, its Diamond Anniversary, tour is the first time it has gone on the road, opening in September 2012.

The Barnstaple run continues until Saturday, with shows tomorrow (Friday) at 7.45pm and two on Saturday, at 2.30 and 7.45pm.

Victoria, who is studying drama at Exeter University, was delighted and more than a little surprised to learn she was the 500,000th to see the current tour.

“I’ve never seen a show like this before, so that was great, but I’ve also never met anyone who has been a professional actor, so it was fantastic to meet them and especially on such an elaborate set,” she said.

The scene is set when a group of people at a country house cut off by snow discover to their horror there is a murderer in their midst…

One by one the suspicious characters reveal their sordid pasts until at the last, nerve-shredding moment the identity and the motive are finally revealed.

In her own inimitable style, Dame Agatha Christie has created an atmosphere of shuddering suspense and a brilliantly intricate plot where murder lurks around every corner.

The play has a particularly twisting ending, and a tradition where the audience is asked not to reveal the identity of the murderer when they leave the theatre.

Anne Kavanagh, who plays Mrs Boyle, was with the show for 10 months in the West End, with a further seven on tour.

“We have had a great week here in Barnstaple,” she said.

“We are getting used to playing full houses, which I think demonstrates how people love Agatha Christie and that cosy English murder genre.”

Chris Gilling, who plays Major Metcalfe, added: “This is really the genesis of a lot of modern murder mysteries – people love it because they are familiar with Poirot and Miss Marple, and the play has humour as well as murder, mystery and suspense, so it is very good family entertainment and a good period piece.”

* Tickets to see The Mousetrap at the Queen’s Theatre are available from the box office on 01271 324242 or visit www.northdevontheatres.org.uk

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