Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap plots socially distanced West End reopening

  • london
  • July 3, 2020
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World’s longest-running show plans to welcome back reduced audiences in October as ‘first step in restoring live theatre’

Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap at St Martin’s theatre.
Photograph: Jansos/Alamy

Its record-breaking 67-year run in London was cut short in March by the coronavirus outbreak but The Mousetrap now plans to resume performances in autumn. Agatha Christie’s whodunnit, the longest-running show in the world, aims to reopen on 23 October as one of the West End’s first socially distanced productions.

When it does, the theatre will reduce its capacity of 550 by around two-thirds, depending on the size of household groups attending. The plans have been put together in compliance with stage four of the the government’s five-point “roadmap” for the return of live theatre performances. Stage four will see “performances allowed indoors/outdoors (but with a limited distance audience)”, although no specific timescales were included in the government’s strategy when it was announced last week.

Adam Spiegel, The Mousetrap’s producer, said he recognised it is not viable for the majority of West End productions to operate with social distancing measures in place for the cast, audience and backstage staff. “We are very fortunate with The Mousetrap that, with the help of our stakeholders, we are able to adapt our economic model to be able to reopen. Whilst this cannot be a long-term exercise, we believe it is a crucial first step in restoring live theatre to the London landscape.” He said that putting Christie’s name “back up in lights” on the theatre’s famous sign would herald “the beginning of the end of a very dark time in the history of the theatre”.

The Mousetrap has been performed 28,200 times in London and sold more than 10m tickets. It was originally adapted from Christie’s radio play Three Blind Mice, written for the royal family in 1947.