In most homes one might have a portrait of their dear grandmother hanging on the living room wall, a deer head plaque in the den, or a reproduction of one of Van Gogh’s Sunflower Paintings in the kitchen. In Ira Levin’s play “Deathtrap,” a writer named Sidney Bruhl lives in Westport, Connecticut. In his study, one might say that his decor is a little off the wall, for he proudly displays a mass assortment of weapons such as a mace and chain, guns and rifles, a giant ax, and even a crossbow. Of course a selection of handcuffs and posters of thrillers is a natural addition to the decor.
…a comedy-thriller with some unexpected surprises and a few hearty laughs.
It is interesting to note that “Deathtrap,” now playing at Silver Spring Stage though October 7th, holds the record for the longest running comedy-thriller on Broadway, earning Marian Seldes, who played the role of Myra Bruhl in every one of the play’s 1,793 performances, a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records as “most durable actress.”
Directed by Roxanne Fournier Stone, the play is centered around a once popular thriller writer named Sidney Bruhl (a wicked J. McAndrew Breen) who receives a play manuscript titled “Deathtrap” from his former student Clifford Anderson (a tall and terrific Nicholas Temple). Jealous of the quality of Clifford’s writing, Sidney says to his wife Myra (a pleasant Kryss Lacovaro), “I may be capable of killing Clifford Anderson. I am not up to the criminal behavior of a Broadway Producer.”
Add to the play a Dutch psychic named Helga ten Dorp (a spirited Declan Cashman) who lives next door and a lawyer named Porter Milgrim (a distinguished Gary Sullivan), and you have a comedy-thriller with some unexpected surprises and a few hearty laughs.
Set Designer and Scenic Artist Maggie Modig creates a realistic Connecticut study that is to die for, while Set Dresser and Properties Mistress Malca Giblin does a great job at gathering a typewriter, weapons, a telephone, and thriller posters, to name a few. Sound Designer Roger B. Stone also added to the proceedings by adding some mood music, where appropriate.
Overall, Silver Spring Stage’s “Deathtrap” has some entertaining moments thanks to the fully engaged cast and good production values. Playwright Ira Levin’s script, however, doesn’t provide enough suspense, witty lines, and interesting characters in order to save this play from the sometimes deadly, unsophisticated scenes. But, what do I know? The play, after all, was nominated for a Tony for Best Play in 1978.
Running Time: Two hours and 30 minutes, with an intermission.
Advisory: Some violence and profanity.
“Deathtrap” plays through October 7th at Silver Spring Stage – 10145 Colesville Road, in Silver Spring, MD, in the Woodmoor Shopping Center. For tickets, purchase them online.