Deathtrap at the Lesher


Deathtrap, the classic comedy-thriller by Ira Levin, is one of the classic plays of the American canon.  I saw it at ACT 25 years ago, it was a well received movie starring Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve, and is currently on display at the Lesher Center.

tom dick and harry

Craig Marker, Charles Shaw Robinson and Lynda DiVito star in Deathtrap.  CenterRep photo

This play is about as meta as it can be–it’s a play about a play about a play, taking self-referential to an art form.  If you tried to outline the plot, you would get a circle.

Helga Tendorp

Kerri Shawn provides a comic turn as Helga Ten Dorp

The two act play uses a single set, the home of the protagonist, Sydney Bruhl, a playwright whose one big play was many years ago and he is still struggling for a second act to his life.

Telling you more would give too much away.  There are crosses and double crosses, plot twists, surprises and just plain old murder.  If you think you have it figured out, you are wrong.

The acting is pretty good.  The leads are all Equity professionals, but I noticed a disturbing amount of stumbling over lines in this very talky production.  I never know whether to blame the director or the actor for overbroad scenery chewing, but somebody should be ashamed–subtlety is not much on display in the Margaret Lesher theater this week.

Which is not to say we were not amused and entertained.  Deathtrap is a very well written play, and the direction never lags for a second.  It moves along swiftly and keeps your attention all the way.

Best of all, there is ice cream at intermission.  Why Center Rep has ice cream and nobody else does is an enduring mystery, no unlike what will happen next in Deathtrap.  Drop in at the Lesher Center and see for yourself.


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