‘Deathtrap’ at McLean Community Players by Julia L. Exline


McLean Community Players presents Deathtrap, Broadway’s longest-running thriller by Ira Levin. Directed by Jerry Bonnes, Deathtrap is a suspenseful treat filled with greed, deceit, and shocking plot-twists!

Set Designer Bill Glikbarg transforms the stage into an elegant country cottage, using large wooden beams for a rustic effect, and bringing a stylish décor to the room with antique furniture, a grand stone fireplace, Persian rugs, and sleek sliding glass doors. However, the pleasant setting is juxtaposed with lethal weaponry lining the walls -swords of all shapes and sizes, a bevy of guns, crossbows, axes, a noose, and more. Framed theatrical posters are also displayed, with each bearing the name of a thriller, and a typewriter sits pointedly on a writing desk.

Laura Peterson (Myra Bruhl), Lois Stanziani (Helga Ten Dorp), and Dan Eddy (Sydney Bruhl). Photo by Traci J. Brooks Photography.

Lighting Designer Bob Zeigler and Sound Designer Zack Sanders team up to put on an exceptional thunderstorm, with lightening flashes, whistling winds, and booming thunder. Ominous music is also used to help set the tone. Jane Chancler shows character’s distinctive qualities through costume design. A distinguished older couple is dressed in classy-casual wear, while a young, aspiring playwright takes on a more rugged look in boots and flannel. A glittery top, bold scarf, and oversized earrings help show the eccentricities of a peculiar psychic.

Thriller playwright Sydney Bruhl (Dan Eddy) has found himself in a slump – his hit plays are long behind him, hidden under a series of recent flops, his debts are growing, and he is in desperate need of a success. When a former seminar student named Clifford Anderson (Will Spilman) sends him an exclusive copy of his first play, entitled Deathtrap, Bruhl simmers with jealousy over his former pupil’s talent. The play is a hit, and Bruhl is so far the only person (besides the author) to lay eyes on it. A grim prospect entices Bruhl – if he can get rid of Deathtrap’s original author, he can then claim the work as his own.

Laura Peterson is reasonable and cautious as Bruhl’s wife, Myra, who he chillingly tells, “they say that committing murder on paper siphons off the urges, but I’m not sure that’s true,” as he gently caresses the curve of a blade. What follows is a roller coaster of plot-twists, and it becomes clear that nothing is as it seems. Lois A. Stanziani brings some humor and zest to the plot as Helga Ten Dorp, an imposing, clairvoyant neighbor who senses imminent danger.

Dan Eddy, John Geiger, Laura Peterson, Will Spilman, and Lois Stanziani. Photo by Traci J. Brooks Photography.

Deathtrap’s thrilling plot keeps you on your toes throughout the production, right down to the shocking ending. If you are a fan of suspense, then a performance of Deathtrap is worthy of an evening out!

Running Time: Approximately 135 minutes, including one 15-minute intermission.

Deathtrap runs through May 5, 2012 at the Alden Theatre at The McLean Community Center – 1234 Ingleside Avenue, in McLean, VA. Performances are Fridays & Saturdays at 8:00 pm, and Sundays at 2:00 pm. Purchase tickets by calling (703) 790-9223, or ordering them online.

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