Prince George’s Little Theatre DeathtrapBy Michael Clark • May 9th, 2012 • Category: Reviews
Prince George’s Little Theatre
Bowie Playhouse, Bowie, MD
Through May 12th
2:!5 with one intermission
$19/$14 Seniors and Students
Reviewed May 5th, 2012
Deathtrap follows the adventures of scheming thriller playwright Sydney Bruhl as he plots to acquire all the copies of one of his student’s plays. Twists abound as layers of his plan are revealed. Add a psychic and an inquisitive lawyer to the mix, and the situation gets even more twists. Deathtrap was the longest running comedy-thriller on Broadway and was also nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play.
I have to say that Deathtrap is an excellent thriller. Plenty of twists occur and are revealed in very unexpected ways. The characters, while not all are very likeable, are realistic (or as realistic as a psychic can be) and each gains the sympathy of the audience at different points of the adventure. The problem is, that once you’ve seen Deathtrap, you can’t forget it. I saw Deathtrap performed by the Vienna Theatre Company several years ago, and just a few weeks ago by the McLean Community Players, so I knew when the twists were going to occur. Unfortunately that really affected my enjoyment of this production. So I will not give any twists away in this article!
There is one point in this thriller where something very exciting happens. I was expecting it, but even I was still surprised. But my reaction was nothing compared to the reaction from the audience. Gasps of shock rang out, along with more than a few shouts of fear. Then, while the actors were still doing what they needed to be doing, the murmuring started. “Did you see that?” “Who was that?” “I thought so-and-so was…” It was a superbly performed moment, making the price of admission worth it for that moment alone.
Michael N. Dunlop as playwright Sidney Bruhl didn’t quite make his character as unseemly as he could have. It appeared at times as if he were plotting a heinous crime, but instead was going to merely jaywalk. Karen Kellner made Sidney’s wife Myra quite likeable. Kristopher Northrup as first-time playwright Clifford Anderson was a bit too sure of himself, too confident. But that actually worked well as he started processing the conversation he was having with Sidney and Myra in the first act. Millie Ferrara as psychic Helga ten Dorp was very funny. She brought some much-needed humor into her scenes, and her timing was spot on. Joseph Mariano as lawyer Porter Milgrim seemed a bit uncomfortable at times.
Director Gayle Negri made an odd choice in the first act concerning the relationship of two of the characters. In the second act, that relationship is developed a bit, but because it was a weak “partnership” some of the tension was lost. These scenes created several opportunities to add layers of personality to the characters, but the scenes ended up feeling a bit flat.
There was a green banker’s light on the desk in the first act that blocked the view of Sidney every time he sat at his desk. Otherwise the set, painting, and dressing was fabulous. The weapons on the walls were quite distinctive, with enough different types of weapons to make for an interesting view.
Definitely get out to Bowie this weekend to catch the final two performances of Deathtrap. The surprise scene and the guessing of who does what to whom when will make for a gratifying time.
A Note From the Director
While Deathtrap was not the show I submitted to direct, when I read it, I fell in love with it. The many twists and turns in Ira Levin’s plot make it an amazing piece of theater. The more times you read it, the more nuances you discover and the deeper the characters become. You suddenly realize things about these people that you never thought of before. It’s a wonderfully written play and a joy to put together. This wonderful cast brings each person to new life every night, so I’m pleased to have you here to to meet them again tonight. Welcome and enjoy the show!
- Sidney Bruhl: Michael N. Dunlop
- Myra Bruhl: Karen Kellner
- Clifford Anderson: Kristopher Northrup
- Helga Ten Dorp: Millie Ferrara
- Porter Milgrim: Joseph Mariano
- Director: Gayle Negri
- Producer: Andrew Negri
- Assistant Director: Kristopher Northrup
- Stage Manager: Linda Sellner
- Combat Choreography: Michael N. Dunlop, Gayle Negri, Kristopher Northrup
- Set Design, Set Construction Lead: Dan Lavanga
- Set Construction Assisted by: Cast, Crew,Members, and Friends of PGLT
- Set Painting Design, Set Decoration/Dressing: Roy Peterson
- Sound Design: Den Giblin
- Lighting Design: Garrett Hyde
- Properties: Suzy Crabb, Roy Hammond, Gayle Negri
- Costume Design: Gayle Negri, and the cast of Deathtrap
- Bowie Playhouse Technicians: Al Chopey, Pete Dursin, Garrett Hyde, Wally Kleinfelder
- Transportation Chief: Keith Brown
- Front of House Coordinator: Andrew Negri
- House Manager, Concessions: Keith Brown, Roy Peterson
- Box Office: Mike O’Donnell, Linda Smith, Sarah Potter Robbins
- Reservations: Sarah Potter Robbins
- Reservation Assistant: Richard Robbins
- Ticket Takers/Ushers: Members and Friends of PGLT
- Publicity: Jenna Jones, Roy Peterson, Linda Smith
- Web Site (www.pglt.org): Kristopher Northrup, Pamela Northrup
- Photography: Kristopher Northrup
- Playbill Design: Roy Peterson
- Program Cover/Publicity Artwork: Michele Stinson
- Lobby Display: Mary Koster
Disclaimer: Prince George’s Little Theatre provided a complimentary media ticket to ShowBizRadio for this review.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/8024.