The Mousetrap at St. Martin's Theatre - Atlas Obscura

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The Mousetrap at St. Martin's Theatre

The world's longest continuously running show has played at this small West End theater since 1974. 

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At first glance, St. Martin’s Theatre doesn’t seem that special. From the outside, it’s just another building in the West End of London with colorful neon lights starkly contrasting on an all-white Victorian facade. Walk 100 feet in any direction and you’re sure to find more neon-lit, Victorian theaters. But what makes St. Martin’s special isn’t the building itself, but the production that takes place each night, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap.

For nearly 50 years, St. Martin’s has continuously run the same play every day of the week besides Sundays. The theater has been so closely linked to the play that most of the decor in its foyer is centered around the show. There are plaques and awards hung on the walls for the show’s record-breaking run. A giant wooden counter in the theater’s entrance lets theater-goers know what performance number they are attending. Despite the fact that seeing show 29,160 will be the exact same as show 29,159, there is a sense of pride knowing that you played a small part in extending the streak.

The play itself is fantastic; there is a reason why it’s still running to this day after debuting over 70 years ago in 1952 (and moving to St. Martin’s in 1974). The “Queen of Crime,” Agatha Christie, switches up her usual medium of novels to tell a captivating murder mystery tale for the stage all while retaining the same themes and motifs that make her books extraordinary. And since it is a murder mystery play with a few dramatic reveals, that is all I can give away! Do yourself a favor and book tickets to solve the murder and see the world’s longest-running theater show!

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