‘The Mousetrap’ takes the stage

The cast of ‘The Mousetrap’ includes, from left, Ryan Temple, Jennifer Temple, Randy Bullock, Marty Thweatt, Jedidiah Benner, Chris Hart, Debbie Watkins and Heather Wilmoth.

Audience members will have to use their analytical skills as they try to solve a murder mystery when the Pike County Little Theatre puts on its production of Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap” this week.

The small ensemble cast of eight features five people who are snowed in at a London guesthouse, along with the newlywed proprietors as well as a detective who’s trying to solve one murder and prevent another.

Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10 and available at eventbrite.com and at the door.

The theater troupe tries to keep a diverse portfolio of productions, from comedies to musicals, and this will be the second Christie story it has done in recent years. In 2014, the cast put on “And Then There Were None.”

Director Seth Karas said “The Mousetrap” is as challenging as it is entertaining. The set — a room in the guest house — stays static throughout the production, and the small cast of characters has to evoke empathy from the audience.

“It’s very difficult to make someone engaged with a murder story because one of these characters could die,” he said, adding that he wanted to make them seem as real as possible “so the audience would want them to survive.”

Karas said the roles in the play include archetypical characters and include a military officer, neurotic young man and stoic older woman.

The weather is as big of a part of the play as anything else. It’s what isolates the cast from the outside world, trapping them inside with a killer.

“As the play goes on, you get to know them,” Karas said.

The cast includes Ryan and Jennifer Temple as the owners of the guest house, Giles and Mollie Ralston, as well as Jedidiah Benner as Christopher Wren, Christopher Hart as Maj. Metcalff, Randy Bullock as Mr. Paravicini, Heather Wilmoth as Mrs. Casewell, Debbie Watkins as Mrs. Boyle and Marty Thweatt as Det. Sgt. Trotter.

And one of them is a stone-cold killer.

“You can justify your reason for any one of them being the culprit,” Karas said.

To find out who, make plans to buy a ticket.

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