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Deathtrap By Ira Levin


Seemingly comfortably ensconced in his charming Connecticut home, Sidney Bruhl, a successful writer of Broadway thrillers, is struggling to overcome a "dry" spell which has resulted in a string of failures and a shortage of funds. A possible break in his fortunes occurs when he receives a script from a student in the seminar he has been conducting at a nearby college—a thriller which Sidney recognizes immediately as a potential Broadway hit. Sidney's plan, which he devises with his wife's help, is to offer collaboration to the student, an idea which the younger man quickly accepts. Thereafter suspense mounts steadily as the plot begins to twist and turn with devilish cleverness, and with such an abundance of thrills and laughter, that audiences will be held enthralled until the final, startling moments of the play.

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Photo Gallery

Deathtrap Photo Christine Sayer

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Cast & Crew

Sidney Bruhl    Frank Sartore
Clifford Anderson Andrew Le Clercq
Myra Bruhl    Margaret Healy
Helga Ten Dorp Gail (Murfi) McGregor
Porter Milgrim Doug Owen
Director Bette Sartore
Stage Manager & A/Director Maggie Browne
Set Design and Construction Brian Fitches & Cathouse Members
Lighting & Sound Design Helen Gramberg
Sound    Di Addington
Front of House/Tickets Katie Fitches

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VDL Critique

DEATHTRAP by Ira Levin

Cathouse Players
Directed by Bette Sartore
Reviewed by Deborah Fabbro - May 25. 2014
Published in Theatrecraft July 2014 p.6

"It's always nice to see a classic and Ira Levin's Deathtrap fits into this category. Written in 1978 and nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play it was the longest running comedy-thriller on Broadway. One can see why, with all its twists and turns of plot which leaves one gasping, as we were warned prior to the commencement of the performance.

Some of the references are a little anachronistic and anyone younger than 40 may not even know what is being spoken about, which in some ways makes it seem a little old-fashioned, but still the plot stands up well and transports one to the Seventies and a different time.
Playwright Sidney Bruhl (Frank Sartore) is suffering from writer's block when a script arrives in the mail from a former student, Clifford Anderson (Andrew Le Clerq). He decides to invite him to the Connecticut cottage where he lives with his wife, Myra (Margaret Healy), to see if they might collaborate. He starts plotting how he might overcome any objections by Clifford which shocks Myra. I did find this opening scene a little stilted with little rapport between the characters.
A much stronger connection between Frank Sartore and Andrew Le Clerq was evident in their scenes together with the many twists in the plot played up well by them.
Helga Ten Dorp (Gail (Murfi) McGregor) is a renowned psychic staying at a nearby cottage and she senses danger happening, but is ignored. Ms McGregor was suitably ebullient and sustained her Dutch accent well.
The cast is completed by Doug Owen as Sidney's lawyer, Porter Milgrom, who visits on business and becomes caught up in the various happenings.
Brian Fitches designed a cosy cottage that was well dressed with various weapons hanging on the walls, daggers, garrotte, guns, mace, battle axe and a crossbow, as well as the usual prints and pictures. The stone surrounding the fireplace was very realistic and good attention to detail in the 'view' outside the French doors.
Director Bette Sartore did well to move her cast around the small stage without them ever appearing too cramped. Also well handled were the more physical scenes.
The sound design by Helen Gramberg was most appropriate in creating atmosphere with the various sound effects, and the music composed for the production by Galliano Sommavilla enhanced and set a very nice tone.
The lighting design was suitable, including the lightning during the storm scene, given the limited rig.
Unfortunately no-one was credited with costumes as they set the tone and period well. I loved the crocheted vest and the other garments were similarly of the period.
It was a very foggy drive through the Macedon Ranges to sunny Chewton to revisit this classic play."

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Review by Lisa Dennis - Castlemaine Mail 25th May 2013

“The Cathouse Players' latest offering Deathtrap opened to local audiences at the Chewton Senior Citizens' Centre last weekend.

The mystery thriller, by Ira Levin, is skilfully directed by Bette Sartore.

It is the third show the former Melbourne theatre group has staged here in Chewton, and once again it is bound to delight local audiences with its professional production, richly detailed sets and wonderfully talented cast.

Be prepared to be on the edge of your seat and ready for a few surprises! This intricate tale has more twists and turns than a trip around Tassie!

Frank Sartore is fantastic as the cunning and smarmy Sidney Bruhl, Margaret Healy great as the nervy Myra Bruhl and Andrew Le Clercq delivers again (after his memorable performance in Blithe Spirit ) as aspiring young writer Clifford Anderson.

Gail ('Murfi') McGregor as psychic Helga Ten Dorp and Doug Owen as Bruhl's lawyer Porter Milgrim offer some much-needed light relief.

I won't reveal too much more as the audience were all sworn to secrecy so get your ticket and get along! For performance dates and bookings see the Live and Local guide on this page.”

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