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BWW Review: DEATHTRAP Brings Thrills and Chills to Sacramento Theatre Company

BWW Review: DEATHTRAP Brings Thrills and Chills to Sacramento Theatre Company

Deathtrap, the longest-running comedy/thriller on Broadway, brings tantalizing twists and shocking turns to Sacramento Theatre Company (STC) this month. This 1978 play-within-a-play by Ira Levin (Rosemary's Baby, The Stepford Wives) was nominated for four Tony Awards, including Best Play. Directed by STC's Executive Producing Director, Michael Laun, Deathtrap is a deliciously suspenseful whodunit and being entertained in the cozy Pollock Theatre is a perfect way to spend a chilly fall evening.

A brief synopsis of the beginning of the play will have to do, for there are so many surprises that I would be remiss to add any spoilers. Previous Broadway World Award winner Casey McClellan is the show's focal point, a middle-aged playwright whose creativity has dried up and withered away. Replete with turtleneck and plaid sweater, McClellan's wily Sidney Bruhl hatches a plan to take the promising manuscript of a young writer who has sent in his work for Bruhl's review. His wife, Myra (Natasha Hause), who has been carrying them on her dime for a long time, is in turn apoplectic and titillated by the thought of Sidney using nefarious means to secure their future fortune. Hause (another Broadway World Award winner) is masterful in conveying nervous energy peppered with guilty desire and, despite having control of the finances, the aura of a woman cowed. The object of their scheme arrives on scene in the form of enthusiastic and optimistic Clifford Anderson (Dan Fagan). While he is in the business of writing thrillers for the love of the art, he does become suspicious of Bruhl's intentions and thinks that his situation would make an excellent thriller.

What entails is an M.C. Escher drawing of sorts. Which way is up, who is who, a plot within a plot within a plot. Two men trying to outdo each other and protect their own interests, a psychic neighbor with uncanny abilities and her own streak of self-interest (Gail Dartez), and a naïve attorney with writing dreams of his own (Greg Parker). Deathtrap will keep you on your toes and jumping out of your seat with more twists and turns than a roller coaster. Secure your tickets early because you'll want to see it again and again!

Deathtrap is playing at the Sacramento Theatre Company's Pollock Stage through December 15. Tickets may be purchased at the box office at 1419 H Street in Sacramento, by calling (916) 443-6722, or online at

Photo credit: Cindy Lawton

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