|Scott Hyder, Petey Swartz, and Debra Lyman|
Photo by Sarah Rodgers
Click here for more information on this production that runs through January 24th.
"..Ira Levin's suspenseful Deathtrap, even almost forty years after being first presented on Broadway, still holds up today and Mesa Encore Theatre is presenting a well-cast and sharply directed small-scale production of this audience favorite that delivers plenty of chills as well as a few laughs. ...This play within a play focuses on Sydney Bruhl, a middle aged playwright, who has only written a series of flop plays since his one-hit thriller The Murder Game, 18 years previous...he has recently received the manuscript of a thriller play from a young writer, Clifford Anderson...Telling Myra that it is a certain hit that needs little tweaking, Sydney invites Clifford over with the plan to tell Clifford that his play is a good idea but needs a lot of work and that he will partner with him on it, thus ensuring he will see some profits from the play. Sydney discovers that no one else knows about the play and there is only one other copy of it, which Clifford is bringing with him. This leads Sydney to mention to Myra that, with the dry period he's experiencing, it might make sense to kill Clifford, steal his sure-fire hit, and claim it as his own. But is Sydney serious? If so, can he go through with his plan? ..almost nothing is exactly as it seems, with twists and turns aplenty along with several moments of humor perfectly set within the suspense. Susan St. John knows how to make this high-tension drama, full of darkness and deceit, succeed with a smart cast, tight pacing, and a small but clever set design. Scott Hyder has a firm grasp on the role of Sydney, delivering the nuance-filled dialogue with a wickedly twisted sense of humor. As Clifford, Danniel Giraldo... instills a big jolt of terror in several scenes that comes across as both shocking and, under St. John's clear direction, also extremely realistic....Bryan Rosen's set and Justin McBride's prop designs create a fantastic backdrop for the play to unfold in front of...The intimacy of the Farnsworth Studio at the Mesa Arts Center also means that the shocking moments of deception play out just a few feet in front of the audience, which adds an extra layer of intensity to the mayhem. ...With a constantly changing plot, Deathtrap is a dark, sinister and terrifying play that leaves the audience wondering just what will happen next. The abundance of laughs and screams, realistic and chilling twists, and a very fitting conclusion makes for a fun evening of murder and mayhem. St. John and her cast know how build the suspense to create a believably frightening production." -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)