EXCERPTS FROM THE REVIEW
The following are excerpts from the December 22, 2014 WYPR Review of Deathtrap by J. Wynn Rousuck
No mistake about it, this production – which Lancisi directed -- excels at the ways and means of murder. Credit for the impressive armaments collection goes to fight choreographer and weapons maker Lewis Shaw, set designer Timothy R. Mackabee and props master Jillian Mathews.
A play about writing a play – indeed writing the play that this play is about – is a pretty neat idea. And the script is filled with jokes about the theater. Bruhl quips: “I may be devious and underhanded enough to be a successful murderer, but not, I think, a Broadway producer.”
Lancisi’s direction keeps the laughs and, for the most part, the tension coming. With the aid of sound designer Stowe Nelson, he uses little musical punctuation marks to enhance moments of foreboding – a few tinkling notes, a chord, a plucked string, or, when the fear factor’s especially high, underscoring.
Then there’s Lewis Shaw’s top-notch fight choreography. Not only do the moves look truly violent, but when a character is being choked, I could swear his face actually turns chalk white.
All of the actors have the timing down pat – in the case of Bruce Nelson, both comic timing and turn-on-a-dime malevolence. Levin includes the character of a Dutch psychic largely for comic relief. Deborah Hazlett’s serious approach makes her all the funnier.
“Deathtrap” includes nods to plays ranging from “Dial M for Murder” to Noel Coward’s “Blithe Spirit” (which Everyman is producing at the end of the season). But Levin’s script can’t be counted on to lay ’em in the aisles with laughter or terror. Still, Everyman delivers a polished production, and if you’ve OD’d on sugarplums or Christmas ghosts, a little deadly diversion might be just the thing.