Review: ‘Deathtrap’ at Sacramento Theatre Company
The theater darkens, ominous music begins and we’re off to murder, mystery and mayhem with Sacramento Theatre Company’s production of Deathtrap. And so begins a pins-and-needles, thoroughly entertaining show that draws in the audience while keeping the constant suspense.
So what's the storyline of playwright Ira Levin's Deathtrap? Ah, that's the conundrum. How do you describe the topsy-turvy plot without giving away the multiple twists and turns of murder and motive?
Here's a simplified description without spoilers: There's a playwright. And a play. And writer's block. And a wife. And another playwright. Oh, and a murder. Or maybe two. And just when you get a little comfortable with the play's direction, multiple jarring surprises.
STC tackles Deathtrap's challenging script and story with wise choices in overall approach, a talented cast, careful direction and spot-on production elements. Director Michael Laun keeps the tone of his cast both light and dark at the same time with a bit of soap opera deliveries and sinister undertones.
And the cast is all-in with Casey McClellan as Sidney the struggling playwright, Natasha Hause as his loyal wife Myra, Dan Fagan as Sidney's promising protégé, Gail Dartez as a professional psychic and Greg Parker as attorney Porter.
It's a wise choice to present the play in STC's more intimate Pollock Stage theater, which heightens the suspense by placing the drama in the laps of the audience. The set is simple: a cozy office with a sofa, a desk, a typewriter and a wall of sinister weapons that Sidney has collected over his theatrical career. Music, lighting and sound effects complete the menacing mood of this malevolent murder mystery.