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Theatre Review: Deathtrap


Exit Game Productions

by Ira Levin

Director: Debbie Smith

King Street Theatre Newtown until September 16

Reviewed by Ron Lee, CSP

Theatre Reviews Sydney

To what desperate measures will a has-been playwright go to regain his former recognition on Broadway?

Sidney Bruhl, a previously successful murder mystery playwright, has experienced a series of box office flops and his creative juices have dried up. Sidney tells his wife, Myra, that he has received a manuscript from his student, Clifford Anderson, and asserts that the play will be a certain hit. He frightens Myra with suggestions that he might kill Clifford in order to steal the script. Sidney telephones Clifford to invite him over to give him suggestions on improving the play. Clifford's play is titled Deathtrap, a five handed thriller in two acts.

Clifford’s manuscript follows the action on stage, or is it the other way around?

Our interest is sustained right to the end through the many unexpected plot twists.

How many murders can be committed when there are only five in the cast? The murder-to-cast ratio is the highest in theatrical history.

Nicholas Gledhill, who is the son of Australian theatrical legend Arthur Dignam, plays the central role of Sidney. Glenhill leapt into our consciousness when he played the eight-year-old PS in the memorable 1983 film, Careful He Might Hear You. Sidney is a challenging role that Gledhill performs with both ease and intensity.

Cassady Maddox is Sidney’s wife, Myra and Catherine Waters plays Portia the lawyer.

It’s always gratifying to see “ethnic” actors cast in non-racially-specific roles, and Amrik Tumber plays Clifford with strength and flair.

Another of the interesting characters is psychic Helga Ten Dorp, who reminded me of Madame Arcati in the Noel Coward play, Blithe Spirit. Denise Kitching’s “big acting” is somehow appropriate for the role. Those of you who have worked in Theatre will remember Zika Nester as the passionate and intense Principal of the Ensemble Acting Studios, and as soon as Helga Ten Dorp entered, my companion and I looked at each other and said, “Zika!”

With the help of an excellent script, Director Debbie Smith and the cast have created an enthralling piece of theatre.

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