Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Drama Workshop Presents Deathtrap by Ira Levin at The Glenmmore Playhouse

Tom, Steve, and I saw Deathtrap at the Sunday, October 25 matinee.  I thought I knew the play but I only knew the title.  That is what happens when one has lived as long as I have.  The play was directed by Joseph Penno, Jr. and produced by Ray Persing.

Deathtrap is classified as a Comedy-Thriller.  I find  having a play described as a Comedy and a Thriller a mind twister.  But the classification is right.  If I had known a little more about the play I would have paid more attention to the twists and turns which are a clever manipulation of typical thriller plots.  I would have said to myself, "Ah, hah, here is plot one and here it is being twisted into plot two."  As it was, I only realized what was happening after I had had a few hours to consider what I had seen.

The play, in a strange way, is believable.  The Deathtrap is a whirlpool that catches everyone and leaves the viewer wondering just where truth and fiction meet.  Adding to the effect is the fact that Deathtrap is the play within the play which, of course, is Deathtrap.  This is a play I would like to see again. Every director and cast would have unique interpretations.

Set...The Bruhls' country house, also the set of the play within the play

There are five actors...

Dennis Murphy as Sidney Bruhl, the playwright with a massive writer's block
Cynthia Mottel as Myra Bruhl, Sidney's wife
Robert Macke as Clifford Anderson, Sidney Bruhl's student in a playwriting workshop
Bill Keeton as Porter Milgrim, Sidney and Myra Bruhl's lawyer
Anne Wrider as Helga Ten Dorp, the neighborhood psychic

When Sidney and Myra discuss the marvelous play, Deathtrap, which Clifford has written, Myra sits embroidering and smiling.  She makes the usual understanding-wife remarks as Sidney schemes to turn events his way and regain his title as an outstanding playwright.  Somehow she reminded me of Madame Defarge in Charles Dickens' novel, A Tale of Two Cities.

Clifford Anderson is mercurial...quick, quick-witted, changeable, volatile.  Exactly who or what is he?  My opinion kept changing.

Porter Milgrim, the lawyer,  is almost what he seems to be.

Throughout the play most of the actors have lines that make the viewer chuckle but the heartiest laughs are for Anne Wrider as Helga Ten Dorp, the neighborhood psychic whose visions are sometimes murky.

The two plays, Sleuth by Anthony Shaffer  and Angel Street by  Patrick Hamilton, are referred to throughout the play.  If you are familiar with these plays (which I am not) I have a feeling that you would find relationships as I did with Myra and Madame Defarge.

If you are in the mood for  mind teasing and especially if you like mysteries, you will find this play interesting.

There will be six more performances,  For more information contact the TDW ticket line at 513-598-8303 or order online at

Tom is able to come to the performances this season thanks to the Clare Schibi Memorial Foundation, Inc, patrons, friends and family who contributed the funds for the new accessible door.

As always, I am grateful to all The Drama Workshop members who donate their time and energy and talents to presenting outstanding entertainment.

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