ARC’s Theater Arts stages a smart and witty rendition of “The Mousetrap”

Catch ARC graduate Braeden Harris’ powerful performance of Giles Ralston from Feb. 24-26


American River College’s Theater of Arts presents Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap” from Feb. 17 through Feb. 26. (Photo By Lorraine Barron)

American River College’s Theater of Arts is presenting Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap” for its first show of 2023. It is a smart and witty play, with comical jokes that are well timed as the audience’s laughter fills the theater. 

This is a murder mystery written by Agatha Christie and the production’s performances keep you engaged and questioning who the murderer is. 

Agatha Christie’s play begins with Mollie Ralston, played by ARC student Brooke Mullenix, entering the room and hiding a package for a reason. Mullenix presents a sweet and compassionate character. 

Giles Ralston, played by Braeden Harris, enters and hides a gift for a special reason. Harris had the strongest performance. His character demands your attention every moment he is on stage. 

Harris’ portrayal of Ralston is so powerful that you feel the character’s emotions and want to understand why he is experiencing them. 

Harris has his Associate of Arts degree in Theater Arts and is getting ready to transfer, but was excited for the opportunity to work with the director, Janis Stevens, professor of theater at ARC. 

“The confidence my fellow cast and crew give me is essential in my performance,” Harris said. 

ARC student Ryan Reece plays Christopher Wren. When Reece appears on stage it’s obvious the nerves have struck. Reece is speaking too fast and quietly to understand. When the nerves settle you enjoy his performance. 

Mrs. Boyle, played by Irene Velasquez, enters the house and instantly you find yourself annoyed with how blatantly rude she is. Velasquez has a convincing performance.

Ronnie Duska Fowler plays Miss Casewell. Fowler does a remarkable portrayal of how quirky Casewell is and performs a well illustrated dance that shows the depth of the character.

Fetalaiga Faga, Mark Kushnir and Jerry Kennedy play supporting roles. The characters add depth to the play.

The performance of the actors grew with intensity as the play went on. You feel yourself getting lost in how cold it is even though the theater was warm. The need to put on a jacket grows or at least to warm yourself by a fire. 

Stevens, who also attended ARC as a student, said she felt that this would be a great experience for the students as murder mysteries are not normally done at the community college level. 

“This is one of the nicest, committed and hard working crews that I have worked with,” Stevens said. 

Stevens attended two years at ARC because it has one of the strongest theater programs for years. 

“This is a special department,” Stevens said.

“The Mousetrap” continues Feb. 24 and 25 at 7:30 p.m. Its last show is on Feb. 26 at 2:00 p.m.