The legacy of The Mousetrap is extensive, embodying what audiences love about the mystery genre. To capture the emotions and attitudes of the characters in the play, we compiled a playlist to shed light on their personalities and encapsulate their mindsets as they get caught up in a mystery where no one is safe from the accusations of others.
The playlist is presented as one unit but each song was chosen with respect to a different character. A variety of genres are explored. Below, each song is listed in relation to what character/theme it parallels, along with a brief discussion pointing out these similarities.
“Suspicion” by LP
After the announcement that the murderer has to be one of them and Mollie discovers that Giles was in London on the day of the crime, she becomes increasingly suspicious toward him. The lyrics “you seem so heaven sent but somehow I still invent the fear in me” relates back to their whirlwind marriage after only knowing each other for a short time and her current fear that he is the criminal. The lyrics “the past becomes the crime in my mind” can refer to Mollie’s reexamination of Giles’ past behavior and her interpretation of the reason he went to London that week. At a certain point, suspicion changes Mollie’s heart and attitude toward her husband.
“Blank Page” by Christina Aguilera
The lyrics “In my own way, I regret choices I’ve made” refer to Mollie’s obscure mention of a past tragedy and her discussion with Christopher on what she is running away from. At the end of the play, the choice she regrets is revealed but there is now way to “erase decisions [she] made”, as the song says. The question “how do I say I’m sorry?” not only refers to her past mistake, but also her eventual reconciliation with her husband if her suspicions are invalidated.
“Bizarre Love Triangle” by New Order
The lyrics “Why can’t we be ourselves like we were yesterday?” applies to Giles’ annoyance with being hosts for the manor and his irritation with the entire investigation after everyone arrives to their abode. He wants everything to go back to the way it was before the murder happened and everyone starts blaming one another. The lyrics “I don’t think you’re what you seem” apply to his growing suspicion of the guests, as well as toward his wife when he discovers she went to London without telling him and when she begins to act strangely when interrogated. If Giles “hurt someone else”, i.e., murdered the two women, then he will indeed “never see just what [he and Mollie] are meant to be” as their relationship may disintegrate if they cannot trust one another.
“Who Is He (And What Is He To You?)” by Bill Withers
The lyrics “who is he and what is he to you?” encapsulate Giles’ fury toward Mollie when he sees her interactions with Christopher. Her amiable relationship with the young man creates tension in the couple’s relationship as Giles is left to wonder about his wife’s interactions with the guest and all the secrets they both may be hiding.
“Suit and Jacket” by Judah & the Lion
This song captures Christopher’s desire to remain young and never have to grow up. While everyone around him berates him for his child-like and flighty demeanor, Christopher has to reconcile his aversion to responsibility and the reality of having to grow up eventually.
“Responsibility” by MxPx
Christopher does not enjoy the responsibilities and realities of adulthood, like facing the past rather than running away from it. The lyrics “you think I’m so simplistic / I’m onto you and your tricks” applies to his role in the play. Everyone around him thinks he is foolish at first, and then they hold deep suspicions that he is the murderer. However, Christopher realizes that they think this of him and he maintains his innocence. The lyrics “I’m still young and I’d like to stay that way / ‘Cause growing up won’t make everything okay” is a fine summation of Christopher’s attitude, particularly when he talks to Mollie about his desire to never grow up as he feels doing so won’t help him anyway.
“Treatment” by August Burns Red
When Mrs. Boyle arrives to the manor, she is unpleasant and critical of her hosts. Her critiques are constant and “the more animosity [she spits] out, the less [the others] want to hear” as the guests try their best to steer clear from her. Although she has the right to provide her reviews as an experienced guest at similar places, her rude judgement of her hosts’ honest efforts annoys everyone present. She should indeed “relax [her] grip of disapproval” of others as she herself has made choices in the past that she will come to regret.
“Judge Not” by Bob Marley
Maybe Mrs. Boyle should take a lesson from Bob Marley. She is exceedingly judgmental of Monkswell Manor, its hosts, and its guests when she has sins to pay for herself. As she criticizes the manor and the behavior of its inhabitants, someone else is examining her past actions and is coming to to make her pay for them.
“Simple Man” by Shinedown
As he appears to be a simple, proper person, we’re going to keep the songlist for him short and to the point. Major Metcalf is disciplined in demeanor and courteous to others, though his motives remain suspicious. The sentiment of the songs seems to be something the major would identify with. We know this is a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd but Brent Smith’s vocals capture the energy and presence of Metcalf.
“Idiot Wind” by Bob Dylan
Just as the other guests, Miss Casewell is one of the suspects for the murders, which can be related to the lyrics “Someone’s got it in for me/ They’re planting stories in the press”, as the detective interrogates her in front of the other guests, manipulating the story to make her seem like the criminal. However, upon first hearing of the murder, Miss Casewell is mostly unperturbed, making light of it as something intriguing. Her initial blasé attitude and interactions with the other guests are captured by the lines “idiot wind/ blowing every time you move your mouth”. When she insinuates that she holds a dark past and that she is often on the move from place to place, her testimony suggests that she has “not known peace and quiet for so long [she] can’t remember what it’s like.”
“It’s a Wonderful Lie” by Paul Westerberg
Miss Casewell is mysterious and closed off, refusing to divulge the details from her past when the detective interrogates her, so the lyrics “I’ve been accused of never opening up” do apply to her. The lines “I’m gonna run to the wind where the big bad city blows” calls to mind her frequent travels and evasions. “It’s a wonderful lie” ties back to her true identity and her true purpose at the manor. She tries to convince herself that nothing from the past will affect her unless she wants it to, yet its effect on her psychology and course of actions becomes apparent over the course of the play.
“Stranger Blues” by Elmore James
Mr. Paravicni is the last to arrive to the manor and he does so quite unexpectedly. He is described as “foreign” and his demeanor shocks the other guests. Due to the circumstances surrounding his sudden arrival and his behavior, the others immediately point the finger at him when it is revealed the murderer is one of them. However, as each tries to project their own mistakes on others, then they all must face judgement in the end as everyone reaps and sows suspicion and tension amongst the entire group.
DETECTIVE SERGEANT TROTTER:
“We Are Detective” by Thompson Twins
Trotter acts as a detective, interrogating each of the guests and pointing out supposedly incriminating behavior so that everyone remains under suspicion. While he does not go about in the same style as Thompson Twins, his efforts do indeed sow chaos and his actions eventually reveal the identity of the true criminal.
We won’t reveal who the killer is, but we will put songs about their motives and attitudes.
“Someone Will Pay” by Justin Townes Earle
The motive for murder is often revenge and the criminal in Christie’s play is no different. Some people (the “Three Blind Mice”) will indeed pay for their past decisions.
“Disarm” by Smashing Pumpkins
The killer in this play was indeed traumatized as a child so that they are “old in their shoes” even at a young age. They see no other option but to murder those who wronged them, which harkens back to the lyrics “and what I choose is my choice / What’s a boy supposed to do?” The line “the killer in me is the killer in you” encapsulates the spirit of the play as each character turns on the other, everyone seeing the killer in each other’s eyes while being blamed for the crime themselves. Anyone and anybody has the potential to be the true criminal in Christie’s play.
On stage January 16 – February 16, 2020, The Mousetrap is revived in an exuberant staging by Sean Graney that eschews cliché and begs for a repeat viewing as the traps characters lay are sprung in surprising ways. Save your seats and see if you can solve whodunnit →