VPA

Valley Performing Arts will premiere ‘The Mousetrap’ Friday.

WASILLA —Friday, the Valley Performing Arts Center will unveil yet another Agatha Christie story on their stage.

“The Mousetrap.”

This classic whodunit features a group of strangers who wind up stranded during a snow storm inside an English mansion called Monkswell Manor. One of these guests is murdered, making every character suspect.

According to a recent press release, the suspects include “the newlyweds who run the house whose suspicions in their minds nearly wreck their perfect marriage” as well as “a young spinster with a curious background, an architect who seems better equipped to be a chef, a retired Army major, a strange little man who claims his car has overturned in a drift, and a jurist who makes life miserable for everyone.”

Jason Bailey plays Mr. Paravicini, a man of unknown origins. Bailey’s character turns up claiming his car has overturned in a snowdrift.

“It’s fun to get to know the cast members. It stretches you to do things you normally wouldn’t be doing,” Bailey said.

Bailey said that he’s read at least 10 Agatha Christie books and the Hercule Poirot series is his favorite. He said that one of his favorite traits found in Christie’s stories is how open and compelling each suspect’s possibility of guilt unwinds, leading the reader to consider every character as a suspect until the final revelation.

“She’s a discovery writer. She doesn’t even know who the killer is until she’s towards the end,” Bailey said.

Bailey said that Christine’s mastery of the whodunit storyline will be evident on the stage and the actors’ compelling performances will keep the audience guessing until the detective finally reveals the true culprit. He said that he feels ready for the opening night and he’s confident in his co-actor’s abilities.

“We’ve got an excellent cast. I think it will be a great show,” Bailey said.

Lauren Waite and Kailey Hardy are sisters-in-law and are sharing more than just family. They will share the spotlight, both returning to theater. They both said this will be their first VPA play.

Waite plays Miss Casewell, an odd and masculine woman who speaks nonchalantly about her traumatic past. Hardy plays Mollie Ralston, who runs the Monkswell Manor with her husband Giles.

Waite said that she’s been a fan of VPA for years, relishing her local community theater that regularly showcases people she knows. She said that helped motivate her to finally audition after watching numerous productions.

“We love the community. We love being able to recognize the faces on stage,” Waite said.

Waite said that she hasn’t acted since high school. She said that she’s enjoyed being a part of this small cast at VPA, saying that they had fun and took care of each other. Like Bailey, Waite said that she was confident that her cast will put on a great show.

“I think we’re ready,” Waite said. “I think it’s gonna’ work out no matter what.”

“The Mousetrap: starts Friday and runs until Jan. 27. Regular admission is $18 and it’s $16 for seniors and students.

Valley Performing Arts is located at 251 West Swanson Avenue in downtown Wasilla. For more information or to purchase tickets, stop by VPA, call 907-373-0195 or see valleyperformingarts.org.

Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at jacob.mann@frontiersman.com

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