Despite a TV and stage career spanning decades, actress Louise Jameson will still feel her fair share of first night nerves when the curtain goes up on The Mousetrap at the Lichfield Garrick.
The hit Agathie Christie show will stop off in the city from April 4 to 9 as part of a nationwide tour.
The task of taking a show which holds the record for the longest ever initial run on the road is not one the current cast are taking lightly.
Among those appearing in The Mousetrap’s UK tour is Louise Jameson.
Despite a TV and stage career spanning decades and including credits such as EastEnders, Tenko, Bergerac and Dr Who, the thrill of a live performance is still as striking as ever.
“I hate first night more and more the older I get,” she said. “The nerves get worse and worse – I think it’s because the lines get harder and harder to learn!
“But once the play is up and running there’s nothing quite like hundreds of people concentrating on the same moment in the same room at the same time.
“It’s magic and wonderful and I’m so lucky to be part of it.”
The Mousetrap is regarded as one of Agatha Christie’s finest works and has seen the show performed more than 25,000 times in the West End since it opened in 1952.
With a show that’s become so well known, has their been a temptation to change things up?
“We’re sticking to the script and keeping it very serious,” Louise said. “I understand other casts have sent it up a bit with comedic delivery, but we are determined to take it seriously.
“It’s quintessentially English and you do get to giggle at the manners of the time, but it’s an incredibly well crafted whodunnit.
“The Mousetrap has been part of our fabric for so long and it’s on the to-do list for tourists in the same way as the Tower of London.
“But it really is Christie at her best.
“The story is based on something so touching and so real, that it has a genuine quality that some others don’t, so you don’t get a formulaic story where it is a puzzle and you have to solve it. This is full of emotion and people with dark secrets and relationships, making for a very interesting yarn.”
The play started life as a radio production called Three Blind Mice and was based on the real life case of a boy beaten to death while in care.
It became so successful that she developed the story into a fuller tale, which, despite the darker tones of murder mystery, still has moments of comedy.
The cast have already seen the alternative sides of the production resonate with people in different ways.
Louise explained: “We’ve certainly seen that audiences have been very different in the way they’ve reacted to parts of the show.
“Usually, you find that people up north want to laugh more, but with Christie it’s the other way round and humour goes down much better in the south. But the desire to solve the whodunnit and the process of working it out is certainly more concentrated in the north.
“I’m interested to see how the audience in Lichfield react.”
Only a handful of tickets remain for all of The Mousetrap’s dates at the Garrick. For booking details call 01543 412121 or visit the theatre’s website.