Review: Deathtrap at People’s Theatre Newcastle
This year I wanted to start to cover shows at the People’s Theatre as we hadn’t yet attended, so this was my first ever visit to what is a lovely venue. Now the new year is here, theatre season is starting again, and so here I was to see Deathtrap.
Admittedly I hadn’t heard of this play nor seen the film. So didn’t know what to expect, but just maybe that naivety led it to being one of the most enjoyable plays I have seen in years.
A crime thriller, to say it had twists, turns and surprise is one thing, however the complexity to produce a play within a play was just brilliant.
We have Sidney Bruhl (Bill Harrington) lead us in his plans and hopes to be successful again. Once a relevant playwright he now resorts to lecturing at seminars, just waiting for that next big hit to bring him back into the big time. An ex student Clifford Anderson (Adam Cummins) may just hold the key to this with his new script Deathtrap, but after witnessing a death what unfolds from here on in will push, pull and throw you in a multitude of directions.
Harrington was brilliant as Bruhl and I really enjoyed the back and forth between him and Cummins as Anderson. They are both integral to the direction, or rather misdirection that this play takes you in. Cummins was equally adept and just as cunning, and grew on me the more the play went on.
Elizabeth Huck was quite evidently the over anxious wife Myra Bruhl, who wasn’t quite sure just what her husband could be capable of.
Accompanied by Helga McNeil whom brought a largely comedic angle as psychic Helga Ten Dorp and Michael White, as a well to do solicitor Porter Milgrim.
Sometimes the humour was dry, sometimes obvious and sometimes exaggerated, it also managed to bring laughs to us through some tense moments.
The stage was set brilliantly, large and open in size, all set within Bruhls living room. Detailed and used to its maximum width and depth. Scene changes were complimented by audio from the film (I assume) hearing vocals from Michael Caine, it helped to focus you while waited for the next scene. This worked well until one of the last scene changes were we were left watching and waiting for it to change without anything to distract.
The first interval ended with a surprise, and by the end of the play I was left sitting thinking just how brilliant this all was. I was genuinely impressed with the complexity and delivery of this play, directed by Mark Buckley.
If you wish to have a last minute night out this Friday or Saturday, then I highly recommend this play.
DEATHTRAP is playing at the People’s Theatre in Heaton from Tuesday 17th to Saturday 21st January at 7.30pm each evening. The run includes a reduced-capacity performance where mask-wearing is encouraged on Tuesday 17th. All details and booking at www.peoplestheatre.co.uk
Review by Aaron Whittington (Ticket gifted for attendance) Images: Jess Chapman