The snow is falling heavily, drifts are mounting when a young couple welcome four guests to Monkswell Manor, in the heart of the English countryside. Unexpectedly a stranger arrives, stranded by the snow…

The scene is set for a Poirot or Marple character to begin sleuthing to uncover the darkest secrets of those marooned in the newly opened guest house.

But no! The longest running London production ever, has all the trappings of a traditional Agatha Christie, but not quite. As the author herself said: The Mousetrap is not really frightening, it’s not really nasty and it’s not really a farce.

Producers of the Swindon production, Stephen Waley-Cohen and Adam Spiegel, were both part of The Mousetrap’s illustrious 21 years in the West End. They chose the light-hearted approach rather than the more sinister take on the famous play.

The cast was headed by the veteran of stage and screen Susan Penhaligon, who was a convincingly acerbic Mrs Boyle.

Martin Allanson, whose TV credits include the BBC’s Private Lives of the Monarchs and Doctors, gave a slick and polished performance as Det Sgt Trotter. The role was taken by Richard Attenborough in the original 1952 West End production.

George Naylor, as Christopher Wren, had a total ball prancing across the Wyvern stage. He hammed up the slapstick with gusto. And John Griffiths was the very model of the amiable Major, quietly lurking in the background, and always ready to lend a helping hand.

Laura Costello, as Miss Caswell, played her role with restraint and delicacy. She showed Miss Caswell’s socialist politics through her man-like gestures and nonconformist attitude, instead of taking the easy route of portraying a brutally butch, over-bearing feminist.

This adaptation was set in the 1950s and there were a number of themes within the play that reflected the prejudices and beliefs of that time. Some were overt such as the rise of feminism. Others touched obliquely on what were taboo subjects in the 1950s such as mental health issues and homosexuality.

The play was a cameo of a time in history. The set was magnificent, and the backstage crew obviously paid attention to detail even down to the sound of a telephone ringing. There was no downloading ringtones in the 1950s.

The Mousetrap should be on everyone’s bucket list. As they say at the end of the show, you join a secret society. It runs until Saturday at the Wyvern Theatre.

Flicky Harrison