The Mousetrap: Reopening of West End show stalls amid Covid ‘uncertainty’

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The Mousetrap is due to celebrate its 70th year in London in 2022

Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, the world’s longest-running theatre show, has postponed its West End reopening.

Producer Adam Spiegel said he “had to make the difficult decision” due to the “current uncertainty and with greater restrictions looming for London”.

The play was due to be one of the first West End reopenings, on 23 October. But Spiegel said it had become “impossible to proceed with confidence”.

He said a new date would be set when there was “a more certain environment”.

The murder mystery has been on stage in London since 1952, but like all other live shows was forced to close this March.

Its planned resumption at the St Martin’s Theatre was due to come just a day after the first West End theatre reopens. Adam Kay’s This Is Going To Hurt is still scheduled to be staged at the Apollo from 22 October.

But most West End shows still have no reopening dates, and the decision about The Mousetrap will cast further doubt on the chances of wider resumptions in the foreseeable future.

In a statement, Spiegel said: “When we took the decision in July that the show would reopen, it was in anticipation of a gradual easing of restrictions in general.

“The government’s announcement last week that the situation is deteriorating, together with increased restrictions being imposed across the country, makes it impossible to proceed with confidence.”

Audience concerns

Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said there would be no easing on restrictions in theatres given the rising number of coronavirus infections.

He added: “We are working intensively with all of the arts sector and theatres to see how we can mitigate risks.”

In a survey conducted by The Stage, carried out in July but only published on Tuesday, just 13% of theatre audiences said they would go back tomorrow if venues opened.

While 93% of respondents said they were looking forward to returning to the theatre, 60% said they were worried not everyone attending would follow safety measures, such as wearing masks and keeping personal distance.

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