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Twin Beach Players’ The Mousetrap

Halloween sweetens the bait in this timely production

Angela Sunstone plays Mrs. Boyle, a witch with Bette Midler attitude; Justyn Christofel ia a hyperactive mad scientist in Twin Beach Players’ The Mousetrap.

Agatha Christie catches you in her Mousetrap — the longest running show in the world — baited by Twin Beach Players with Halloween lure.
    Enter the cozy North Beach Boys and Girls Club and you step into the spell. Cobwebs drape the gate of Christie’s barely illuminated Monkswell Manor, now a guesthouse.
    In the dark theater, the tune of Three Blind Mice (the play’s original title), played on piano, breaks the silence. The eery music yields to a shrill whistle and a woman’s scream.
    A moment of silence is broken by a radio voice (Sid Curl) announcing a murder. Alongside Curl, ghoul Brianna Bennett creates timely sound effects: the whistle, a door squeaking, a telephone ringing, skis schussing across snow, a gunshot.
    Stage lights come up, and strange guests join you in the Great Hall.
    Proprietor Mollie Ralston (Anna Gorenflo), who comes in out of the snow, is a bit scarier than usual, pale faced with white-streaked hair. Scarier still is her husband Giles (Aidan Davis) transformed by make-up artists Skip Smith and Wendy Cranford and costumer Dawn Dennison into Frankenstein’s monster.    
    Five more guests are stranger still.
    Booked into the inn are four oddities: Christopher Wren (Justyn Christofel), a hyperactive Mad Scientist; Mrs. Boyle (Angela Sunstone), a witch with Bette Midler attitude; Major Metcalfe (Rick Thompson), the world’s tallest dwarf; and Miss Casewell (Lindsay Haas), a succubus.
     Unexpected is Mr. Paravicini’s (Jeff Larsen) Dracula, who claims his car overturned in a snow bank.
    “It’s the monster mash,” said Twin Beach Players’ president — and Mousetrap director — Curl. “The script lends itself to Halloween; I didn’t have to change anything.”
    Characters emerge as the unlikely guests get acquainted. Mr. Paravicini’s charming and humorous Dracula steals the show, sneaking peeks of Miss Casewell’s ample cleavage and love bites on her neck.
    Cut off as they are by the blizzard, one more visitor nevertheless skis in. He’s Sergeant Trotter (Michael Saunders), brought by an address found in the notebook of the murder victim. She never appears but she has distant ties to Monkswell Manor.
    True to Agatha Christie — and at the request of Sergeant Trotter — the guests re-enact the murder while trying to prevent another.
    As each character is scrutinized, the only thing we in the audience can be sure of is that no one is beyond
suspicion.
    Which one is the guilty party?
    You’ll have to go to find out. Christie — and Curl — demand it.

Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, in arrangement with Samuel French, plays FSa at 8pm, Su at 3pm thru Nov. 3 at the Boys and Girls Club, North Beach. $12 w/discounts: 410-286-1890: www.twinbeachplayers.com.