The Mouse opens at a wake as Beth (Cassandra Bleechmore) welcomes and thanks family friends for attending her mother’s funeral. It’s a funny yet revealing scene, as the audience gets to see how Beth acts when she isn’t being watched, whether it’s bored, flirtatious, or with disdain.
She isn’t alone, however, as her sister Claire (Clancy Fraser) and brother-in-law Robert (Dominic Westcott) are also present. After the reading of the will, the play turns into an intriguing “attempted murder” mystery with a number of strange near misses occurring.
It’s a good script by Clancy Fraser, although more than a few scenes suffered from languid cues that robbed moments of a lot of their pace and tension.
Much like the character of Abigail Hobbs in the series, Hannibal, Cassandra presents an ambiguous Beth. It’s lovely work, as is Clancy’s performance as Claire, whose increasingly desperate need to reconnect with Beth is only matched by her increasingly inability to realise something is very wrong in this house.
Completing the triangle was Dominic’s turn as Robert, who did well not to let his character be reduced to frustrated arm-waving and histrionics. The climactic duel-logue scene was a splendid way to drive the story to its end, followed by a nice piece of mirroring to bring this admirable stab at a modern thriller to a gentle but unsettling blackout.
The MC Showroom, 1 / 48 Clifton Street, Prahran
Performance: Tuesday 18 September 2018
Season continues to 23 September 2018
Information and Bookings: www.melbournefringe.com.au
Image: Cassandra Bleechmore as Beth in The Mouse (supplied)
Review: David Collins