(**No Spoilers**) Written by Ira Levin and directed by Tony Broom. Now playing through March 29th on The Stage at Calvin Presbyterian Church in Tigard, Oregon.
Deathtrap is on my dream list of shows I want to direct, so I was super excited to see a local (well, nearly local ) production of it. Mask & Mirror Community Theatre was started in 2011 by a group of actors and stages shows in Tigard and Tualatin. The Tigard shows are performed in “The Stage” room at Calvin Presbyterian Church while the Tualatin shows are done at the Tualatin Heritage Center. A great group of talented people with their theatre boots on the ground!
Deathtrap: Sydney Bruhl is a playwright who hasn’t had a hit in years and a wife, Myra, with a heart condition. Enter Cliff Anderson, a young playwright with a sure-fire hit! With visits from Sydney’s lawyer, Porter, and the psychic-next-door, Helga Ten Dorp. A comedy with murder and twists galore!
The set for Deathtrap was pretty good for the space. It had all the necessary elements like the weapons, fireplace, french doors, and window cards. (I’ll nit-pick a bit–cause that’s what I do–the wall color didn’t remind me of fall 1978. The green was a bit too light. Needed to be more avocado like. The room felt more like Myra’s personality when it’s really supposed to be more like Sydney’s. Dark.) With such a brightly colored set, the lighting could’ve been warmer–more amber–less white. (I’m not sure how much control they have over this, being in a church. Again, nit-picking. Everyone looked great.) I did really like how they executed the lightening and rain; although, the rain was a bit too loud and almost drowned out the dialogue. Costuming seemed to be of the period. I would’ve liked Myra in lighter colors and Sydney in darker colors to match their personalities. The fight scenes were great and the audience had some good jump scares! I knew the moments were coming and was super happy when the bits worked and the audience reacted in shocked and surprise! The blocking was clever and a good use of the stage space.
Jeff Ekdahl as Sydney Bruhl was pretty good; however, didn’t push the boundaries of emotional narcissism for me. He definitely had the sarcasm and superiority complex down but I would’ve liked to see him “fake” his sincerity with the rest of the cast to show just how sinister Sydney really is.
Patricia Alston as Myra Bruhl had some great moments with her facial expressions, doting wife bit, and “concern” about Sydney’s plan. Her “final moment” would be more effective and shocking if she showed more fragility earlier on and build to that moment.
Jeremy Garfinkel as Clifford Anderson did a great job as the younger playwright. Being larger than Sydney, the fight scene could use a bit more of a struggle for believe-ability. It was good though, it had the audience. Same later with Myra, a bit more menacing in his advance would push her reaction in a stronger way. I wish I could say more, but no spoilers here.
Diana LoVerso as Helga Ten Dorp was funny with great timing. She was completely put together from costume to hair to accent and movement.
Bud Reece as Porter Milgrim was fun! The lawyer role seems straight forward but there’s really more to him and Bud Reece did a great job giving a well-rounded character.
Overall, this is a super fun show with twists, surprises, comedy, and murder! What’s not to love about that! A classic five cast, single set, show about ambition and what people are willing to do for success. For tickets and showtimes, click HERE.
Upcoming shows include: Suite Surrender, a comedy farce of mistaken identities, running May 1st – 17th. Laundry and Bourbon & Lone Star, two one act comedies, running July 10th – 19th.
Mask & Mirror is a non-profit 501(c)3 community theatre group committed to promoting theatre and the arts in the Tigard/Tualatin OR area. They are accepting donations to keep their programs running. Click HERE for more information on supporting Mask & Mirror.
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