Milwaukee Chamber Theatre

Deathtrap

Thursday, August 10, 2017

by Anne Siegel, TotalTheater

Still considered Broadway's longest-running comedy/thriller some four decades after its debut, DEATHTRAP appears to still have some sizzle in a tantalizing production by Milwaukee Chamber Theatre.

Thankfully, director Michael Cotey keeps us in the play's original time frame (mid-1970s). Instead of "modernizing" the play by introducing cell phones and other digital conveniences, we can blissfully return to an earlier time. The ringing telephone was America's lifeline to the outside world, especially in a remote Connecticut estate.

As a result, we can see Levin's original chess game-of-a-play unfold in all its glory. It is impossible to discuss the play's plot without mentioning Arnel Sancianco's set. It's of an upscale lodge (the main character's home) that looms above the action. Towering wood beams comprise the room's roofline, and wood is tastefully introduced throughout the architecture and furnishings. But an audience's gaze is deliberately focused on collections of medieval weapons that adorn the walls. One finds more than 40 or so weapons in all, tastefully grouped throughout the interior. (There's no point in decorating a set with unused weapons, however, and audiences will probably guess that elements of the wall décor will come into play once the play gets going.)

Read more at TotalTheater


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