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Theatre Review: Deathtrap ***

Joy Watters reviews a production with fun twists and turns but some disappointing elements.

The lights go up to reveal the remote Connecticut home of once successful playwright Sidney Bruhl, or more particularly his huge study: all battleship grey with blood red niches in the walls containing a cache of horrendous weapons. Hmmm, it does not bode well.

Even Sidney and his wife Myra are dressed in grey and red like a couple of extra props in Kenny Miller’s groovy design. Appropriately enough actually since in no way is Ira Levin’s 1978 comedy thriller a great exploration of character. Rather it is a metaplay, a thriller which salutes and sends up the thriller genre.

Stage thriller writer Sidney (Lewis Howden) is all washed up not having tasted success for years. Then a young student sends him a copy of his play Deathtrap which old Sidney thinks could do the trick for him if he pretends it is his work.

Much to the alarm of his uptight wife with a heart condition, Sidney invites the young writer to his remote home. His motives are far from honourable.

Since the play is plot-led, events cannot be revealed here. Twists and turns in the script ensure the audience both hoots with mirth and leap out of their seats in terror.

Lewis Howden’s Sidney is disappointing. With an intermittent American accent, he encapsulates the has-been playwright but fails to go up a gear into energised, murderous plotter.

Irene McDougall does an amusing turn as the psychic foreigner next door. Guest director Johnny McKnight’s pantomime pedigree does not really come into play to speed up the action.

Deathtrap runs at Dundee Rep until March 10.

Tags: theatre

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