Northeast Times

‘The Mousetrap’ captivates audiences at the Walnut Street Theatre

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Set in Eng­land dur­ing the winter of 1952, a group of strangers are trapped to­geth­er at a man­or house dur­ing a snowstorm. They soon dis­cov­er that one of them is a mur­der­er and sus­pi­cion runs wild.

Now cel­eb­rat­ing its 60th year, The Mousetrap, writ­ten by Agatha Christie, is the au­thor’s most pop­u­lar cre­ation and now be­ing staged at the Wal­nut Street Theatre through March 4. This per­fectly writ­ten who­dun­nit is based on a real life drama and was ori­gin­ally writ­ten as a short ra­dio play titled Three Blind Mice. Christie her­self nev­er ima­gined it would last very long, let alone six dec­ades.

But audi­ences proved her wrong, said Laurent Giroux, who plays Mr. Para­vi­cini in the play.

“Audi­ences keep com­ing back to see this play be­cause it has everything. It’s a little jew­el with so many dif­fer­ent fa­cets to it that audi­ences just eat it up,” he said. “As for act­ors like me, get­ting to re­hearse this play in a room, but then bring­ing it to an audi­ence to see their re­ac­tion is quite daunt­ing.”

In the play, Mr. Para­vi­cini, who ap­pears to be af­fect­ing a for­eign ac­cent, is a man who turns up at the man­or house claim­ing that his car has just over­turned in a snow­drift and is seek­ing refuge. Is he or isn’t he?

Buf­falo-born Giroux, 62, was last seen at the Wal­nut in As­pects of Love. Over the years, he has per­formed on Broad­way in Pip­pin, Chica­go, Dan­cin’, Am­bas­sad­or and Two Gen­tle­men of Ver­ona.

He was also cast as Roost­er Han­nigan in the 20th an­niversary pro­duc­tion of An­nie. He played King Herod in Je­sus Christ Su­per­star and was fea­tured in the na­tion­al tour of The Light in the Piazza, as well as many re­gion­al pro­duc­tions.

“I re­mem­ber when I first de­cided I wanted to be an act­or, I was about three or four years old and sit­ting on my fath­er’s knee watch­ing Peter Pan on tele­vi­sion. I poin­ted to the tele­vi­sion set and said that’s what I want to do when I grow up. My dad thought maybe I meant Tinker­bell, but I made a hook with my hand, telling him that I wanted to play Cap­tain Hook,” he said.

Be­liev­ing in his son even at that young age, Giroux’s fath­er en­rolled him in a dan­cing school to see if he had in­her­ent tal­ent, which the little boy proved he did. Later, when Giroux was a young teen he told his teach­er he was very ser­i­ous about this craft. That’s when his teach­er told him she had done all she could for him and sent him off to bal­let classes so he could learn from a male dan­cer.

Later, Giroux en­rolled at Buf­falo State as an art ma­jor, then trans­ferred to Ad­elphi Uni­versity in Long Is­land. But after a week, Giroux au­di­tioned for a spot as a so­loist dan­cer at Ra­dio City Mu­sic Hall, got the job, and has nev­er looked back.

Along the way, he ap­peared in a tour­ing com­pany of Prom­ises, Prom­ises where, he re­membered, the dance cap­tain pulled him aside and said that al­though he was a good dan­cer, that’s not where his ca­reer should go.

“She told me that if I were smart I’d look to a whole dif­fer­ent ca­reer be­cause dan­cers gen­er­ally have a shelf life. I knew she was right and de­cided to take her ad­vice. I took voice les­sons, stud­ied the Meis­ner tech­nique for act­ing, and even­tu­ally turned my­self in­to an act­or, sing­er and dan­cer,” Giroux said.

Today, Giroux in­sisted he’s thor­oughly en­joy­ing the road he’s traveled, and would re­com­mend it to any­one — if they are will­ing to work hard.

“You have to be totally com­mit­ted to your craft,” he said. “It has to be your life and all you really want to do, be­cause if you don’t have that kind of ded­ic­a­tion, it will be very, very dif­fi­cult to make it.” ••

For times and tick­et in­form­a­tion, call 215-574-3550.

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