Last year I found myself blogging about a trip to the local theatre to see The Hound of the Baskervilles. A fortnight ago, my parents took me out for the evening, returning to Queens Theatre in Hornchurch, we went to see Deathtrap – Ira Levin’s classic thriller-drama.
To quickly sum up: Sydney Bruhl is the central character and is a playwright who is fast running out of money and success, largely down to his age. Young writer Clifford Anderson arrives on the scene, hungry for success, with plenty of passion and ideas to make him a famous playwright – taking Sydney’s place. Much to Sydney’s dissatisfaction, Clifford has written an excellent play which is bound to be a massive hit and green with envy, Sydney begins to plot – with a ‘to kill or not kill’ dilemma.
The structure is a play within a play, with the characters acting out Deathtrap and this allows for many twists and surprises as the plot begins to thicken – just as you think you can predict what will happen, things suddenly change and tension is constantly heightened. Even if you’ve seen the play before, you can never ready yourself for the next scene – the gasps and shrieks from the audience spoke volumes, as everyone sat wondering ‘whodunnit’.
The set itself was very impressive and the show is played out in Sydney’s house in Connecticut, the walls laden with old movie posters from his early blockbusters, as well as an array of weapons: from hand guns, to a mace, which all add to the tension surrounding the potential violence of the protagonist. The Houdini handcuffs also displayed on the wall play a big part in the plot developing, as does the stove in the opposite corner of the room – used to destroy important documents such as the Deathtrap play.
The first half is incredibly dark, building up to the violent scenes but the act is made that bit lighter through character Helga Ten Dorp (Bibi Nerheim), who plays a psychic Dutch woman. She provides most of the comedy and her thoughts do eventually anticipate the action.
Matt Devitt who plays Sydney is incredible – from his facial expressions and mannerisms, to his portrayal of the main character as a man desperate and angry. He is strangely engrossing.
Prepare for two hours of pulse-racing, heart-stopping action, including several gun shots and screams, but enjoy and laugh at all the satirical comedy. The double bluffs and surprises are sure to keep you guessing until the very end and you definitely won’t leave disappointed.
Deathtrap ends on Saturday and tickets start from £16.50.