"Mousetrap" play enters 60th year with plan to expand

Fri Nov 25, 2011 6:33am EST
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - The big mystery may be why it hasn't happened before, but Agatha Christie's "The Mousetrap" -- the longest-running show in the world -- will finally tour Britain in 2012 to mark its 60th birthday.

The play's diamond jubilee falls on November 25, 2012, and on Friday as it enters its 60th year, organizers announced a series of events to celebrate the landmark.

Friday's performance will be the 24,587th, yet for all its popularity, the show's producer said he wanted more.

"I'm very conscious that although we've had good houses for 60 years, the amount of people who've seen the show in London is about the same as a single show of 'Downton Abbey'," said Stephen Waley-Cohen, referring to the hit British drama on ITV which attracts up to 10 million viewers per episode.

He added that other plays had enjoyed a new lease of life when they toured outside London.

"I've been aware that tours of many shows have enhanced their performance in London if they have been done to very high standards, most recently 'Yes, Prime Minister' and 'Mamma Mia!'," Waley-Cohen told Reuters.

"I believe a high quality tour done as a major event will be good for London as well as for the 60 cities it visits."

The murder mystery began life as a radio play broadcast in 1947 which was then turned by its author into a short story and later into a full play.   Continued...