‘Deathtrap’ is one of the world’s most successful thrillers. This magnificent production of Ira Levin’s play is being performed at the Garrick Theatre, 16 Meadow Street in Guildford. The two and a half hour shows starts at 8.00 pm, and the run is until FRIDAY 6th July. There is one Sunday matinee at 2.00 pm on 24th June.
Multi-award winning playwright, Ira Levin has a rare collection of major successes to his name, including ‘The Boys from Brazil’, ‘The Stepford Wives’ and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’. Levin’s writing is always gripping and with superb construction of the storylines.
In a remote converted barn in Connecticut, live the Bruhls. It is a long time since author and part-time creative writing lecturer, Sidney Bruhl (Joe Isaia) wrote a successful thriller. He has been in a writer’s block, struggling to write a story based around one of their neighbours, a strange old dear called Helga ten Dorp (Kerry Goode) who professes to be a clairvoyant.
Sidney’s wife of many years, Myra Bruhl (Irene French), is a nervous lady who doesn’t enjoy the best of health; even her husband’s collection of ancient weapons and implements of torture hanging on every wall of the house causes her to be upset. However, because of her inherited wealth, she has been happy to support her husband.
Sidney often gets unsolicited plays from his students, asking for advice, when one day a real treasure turns up. It is ‘Deathtrap’, one that he wishes that he had written himself. The young author is Clifford Anderson (Gareth Walsh), an ex-student. Mercenary Sidney tries to think of ways to become involved in the publication of this brilliant play, and so guarantee some regular income for very little work.
One afternoon, Myra’s friend and family solicitor, Porter Milgrim (Andrew Warwick) arrives to tie up a few legal odds and ends, and has the door answered to him by the poor unsuspecting student.
I have seen this play several times, and this is the first time that I have really jumped with fright and squirmed with horror. The cast were magnificent, each captured their part perfectly. Under the excellent direction of Alice Dale, the passion, terror and humour were all there. The team work was solid, the pace perfect and the atmosphere electric.
This was a stunning set (Andrew Warwick, George Boyd) that didn’t take any short cuts. The beams looked authentic; the fireplace brickwork was perfectly designed, and looked ‘worn’ (Natalie Watson, Brendan Tobin). The whole effect was realistic and solid, congratulations to the set builders Liam Kirwan, Rodney Palmer and George Boyd.
The final touch of authenticity was added with the massive task involving unusual set dressing and difficult to source props (Annie Bramble, Linda Redman and Marion West). How often have I seen a good set ruined by an ineffective set of white floods? Certainly not here, the lighting (Don Allen, Anita Bound) was cosy, homely and then creepy. Combined with the superb sound effects (Tim Edwards, Lesley Broughton) the atmosphere was often tense. I think the sound system has been up dated, because the front of house announcements were - after years of muffled incomprehension - clear and the play’s sound effects crisp and ‘explosive’. Efficient stage management from Linda Redman and Marion West. Technically an outstanding show.
If you have a dodgy heart, then double your life insurance before attending a performance.
This is theatre at its very best. With such a small theatre it is probably already an instant sell-out.
HIVE (Her Infinite Variety Ensemble) presents
By April De Angelis, by arrangement with Origin Theatrical on behalf of Samuel French, Ltd.
Directed by Helen Doig
Starring Rhoda Lopez as Nell Gwyn and Angelique Malcolm as Mary Betterton, Claire Munday as Doll Common, Tiffany Barton as Elizabeth Farley and Summer Williams as Rebecca Marshall