For our first visit to London, Mihir only had one item on his agenda: To see The Mousetrap in London’s Westend. Frankly, it was a great choice. Below we have outlined for you why you should choose The Mousetrap over other plays in the Westened and how to go about actually seeing it.
Why The Mousetrap Should be Your First West End Play
The Mousetrap is a murder mystery by none other than the queen of crime, Agatha Christie. It first premiered in London in 1952 and has continuously been running since then. This makes it the longest-running play in history, although it has changed locations several times. The original production premiered at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham while today the play can be seen at St. Martin’s Theatre in London’s West End.
It’s a very traditional kind of murder-mystery where each and every character is a suspect. If you love Agatha Christie’s work as much as us (or any other kind of crime novels for that matter), The Mousetrap is certainly for you. By the way, we strongly recommend that you do not read the Wikipedia article on the play as it actually reveals the ending 😉
Where to Buy Tickets for The Mousetrap
The play runs 6 days a week, from Monday to Saturday, and starts at 19:30. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, there is also a matinee performance, taking place at 15:00 on Tuesdays and 16:00 on Thursdays.
On Fridays and Saturdays, tickets are automatically 15% more expensive than during the week. While for the cheapest category that only means 3 GBP difference, it’s a whopping 20 GBP more for an A-grade seat. There are 5 price categories available and the theater itself is split into 3 levels; the orchestra stalls, the dress circle, and the upper circle.
The best view is available from the orchestra stalls, but tickets in this category can cost up to 95 GBP per seat. Bleacher seats are much more affordable at less than 20 GBP but come with some disadvantages. For one, the view is obviously not as good as from the stalls. However, their main drawback is that the pitch of the seats in the upper circle is very small. That means, if you are tall, you will be uncomfortable in these seats.
You can buy the tickets on the official website.
How to Get the Best Value for Money
First off, the best time to see The Mousetrap is on a weekday during the off-season. Not only is it easier to snag tickets during that time, you are also be getting more value for your money. As discussed, weekday tickets are generally 15% cheaper than weekend tickets.
Although the price of the ticket doesn’t vary by season, you can still get a better deal during the off-season. Unfortunately, this is a bit of a gamble but bear with me. Mihir and I had booked the cheapest price category (19.5 GBP). However, not enough tickets had been sold for that particular performance. As a result, the upper circle and dress circle were closed and we were given seats in the orchestra stalls instead. Now, I must say, these seats were excellent.
What to Expect on the Day of the Performance
Once you have secured your tickets, it’s time to prepare for the play itself. St Martin’s Theatre is located in the heart of Theatreland, only a few hundred meters from Covent Garden. We recommend that you print your tickets at home because that will save you time on the evening of the play. If you need to collect your tickets, you should arrive at least 30 minutes before the beginning of the play, otherwise, 15 minutes before are sufficient. If you want, you can grab a drink at the bar before the performance (or during the interval).
There is no official dress code at St. Martin’s Theatre, but I would still recommend not to dress too casually. A dark pair of pants and a simple blouse/shirt should do. Please note that there is currently no cloakroom at St. Martin’s Theatre which means you shouldn’t bring any unnecessary items with you. I recommend that you head back to the hotel and drop your sightseeing gear before the performance. It’ll give you a chance to freshen up as well 🙂
At the Theater
You can enter the auditorium 30 minutes before the start of the performance. Ushers will direct you to your seats and if you are lucky, they will assign you better seats if the upper circle and/or dress circle are closed. You are allowed to bring light snacks into the theater, although we omitted the snacks and headed directly to dinner after the performance. Alternatively, you can pre-order some tapas to enjoy at the theater during the interval.
The performance starts precisely at the time stated on your ticket. If you arrive late, you may not be admitted into the theater until a suitable break. The play runs for about 2 hours and 20 minutes with the interval taking place about 1.5 hours into the play. It is not permitted to take photos during the performance, so perhaps reserve some extra time for that before or after the play.
At the end of the performance, you will be asked not to reveal the ending to anybody to keep with a long-standing tradition. If you are lucky, you can snag some autographs at the stage door shortly after the performance ends.
Where to Eat Dinner
The West End is famous for the theater, of course, but its food scene is just as iconic. There are dozens of places to eat dinner in the West End and it can actually be difficult to pick just a single one. Personally, however, we only had one place on our mind: Dishoom. Their Covent Garden location is located less than 100 meters from St. Martin’s Theatre which made it very convenient to visit after the performance. On the weekends I strongly recommend that you make reservations (yes, even if you’re going to have dinner at 22:00) as otherwise, you may not be able to get a table.
Dishoom serves elevated Indian cuisine and fabulous cocktails. It is difficult to get authentic Indian food in the Nordics, so we were more than happy to combine a visit to Dishoom with a theater performance. Dishoom is certainly not the cheapest place to pick up Indian food, but the atmosphere is great and the food is delicious. If you have ever been to an Iranian cafe in India, you will feel right at home at Dishoom.
It’s hard to recommend a specific dish to order because everything is amazing, but the biryani is always a good bet!