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Delightful Mystery

'The Mousetrap' at the 1st Stage,

Cold and blustery it is outside. So, do head off to 1st Stage in Tysons Corner for an affectionate, comfy rendering of the world's longest running theatrical show, Agatha Christie's 1952 mystery who-dunnit, “The Mousetrap.” You will find enjoying a satisfying evening trying to solve the puzzle whether you already know the outcome or are partaking for a first time.

Director Jessica Lefkow has created an evening for audiences to “perk up…and enjoy.” The mystery set-up is straight forward, but with delightful complications as a newly married English couple opens a guest house in an old country manor. A major snow storm closes in on them and their expected and unexpected guests. A crackling radio reports news of the murder of a woman in a nearby town. A policeman arrives, on skis no less, to investigate and hunt down the killer. It seems that every one of the guests and even the owners have some darkness made visible with possibly a connection to the murder victim.

The eight-member cast is solid, performing especially well as an ensemble. Standouts include Suzanne Richard as the overbearing older Mrs. Boyle showing absolute distain for all others with the flip of a hand and arch of an eyebrow. Jennifer Weinreich is a cheery new bride, a fluffer of pillows who putters serenely but with a deep well of emotions that appear over time. John Stange is her somewhat condescending husband who can boil over at mere trifles.

Joining them are a stiff bearing, ram-rod Major (Patrick Smith) and a very taut, unbending investigating sergeant (Arden Moscati). Less enjoyable are characters that perhaps as written would be considered naughty arch-types played a bit too fey by Karl Bittner, a bit too hard by Abby Wood and a bit too inscrutable by Luke Tudball.

The uncredited detailed set is a joy with high paneled walls resplendent with doors, niches and alcoves. Large windows show signs of the winter storm. Jennifer M. Allevato's costumes are muted grey and brown tones with hints of color giving some characters pizzazz.

Listening to some in the audience as the lights went up, it was apparent they had not guessed who did it. Go see for yourself. Promise not to tell who did it.