Deathtrap, the longest running comedy-thriller on Broadway, boasts twists and turns enough to make any audience member dizzy and doesn’t disappoint. The style of the play, especially the writing, is very indicative of the period in which it was written. Some word choices and references are so obviously from the seventies that one can’t help but chuckle.
Sidney Bruhl, a playwright most famous for the longest running play on Broadway, has retreated to his home in Westport, Connecticut in order to work on a new play after all of his most recent ones have flopped. He is joined by his wife of eleven years, off of whose trust fund he is living.
After receiving a superbly crafted manuscript from one of his students at a seminar he led, Sidney jokes to his wife Myra that he should kill the boy for itâ€“especially since the manuscript’s author Clifford Anderson has made only two copies and no one knows of his work.
Myra is naturally quite disturbed by this prospect, and when Sidney invites Clifford up to Westport from New York, Myra makes sure to stay in the room to ensure Sidney does nothing rash. Once Clifford confirms no one knows of his manuscript or where he is, Sidney is free to act, and he takes complete advantage of his opportunity.
I will point out that the play’s ending is a bit strange and was a muddle of actions that weren’t substantiated by any kind of real characterization. But besides the ending action of two of the characters, everything else was well thought out. The main characters weren’t static, and two of the supporting cast members were hilarious foils for one another and the main characters. One such character, Helga ten Dorp, was played by a man dressed as a womanâ€“an eastern European woman, complete with accent and all. Matt Carroll did quite a good job filling those womanly shoes, not to mention that his accent was fantastic. Carroll wasn’t the only superb actor in Deathtrap. The entirety of the troop was quite impressive. Brittany Roberts tackles her portrayal of Myra’s internal struggle between condoning and con-
demning Sidney’s murder of Clifford beautifully. Tamil Periasamy as Sidney does an enchanting job with the antihero, making the audience both root for and revile him.
Brian Webber’s turn as an ingenuous first time author rings true, and the latter parts of his performance are pitch perfect. Finally, Johann Margulies as Porter Milgrim, the Bruhls’ lawyer, is fantastic.
The writing and the acting weren’t the only things excep- tional in this production. The set and costume design were superb. That is the thing that most impresses me time and again when I see DramaTech productions. The craftsmanship that goes into cre- ating the backdrop for the actors is fantastic and engenders com- plete immersion in the story. In general, it is a joy to go to DramaTech. Partly for the great repertoire and acting, but mostly for the heart and the soul that goes into their productions. Deathtrap is no different, leaving audience members glad for the five bucks they paid to see the play.