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Jewel Box's 'Deathtrap' retains the thriller's devilish twists



Believe it or not, to say much about "Deathtrap" would be playing with spoilers that uninitiated viewers never would forgive. The longest-running comedy/mystery thriller on Broadway, "Deathtrap" was one of the early examples of scripts in which the plot crisscrosses with itself so many times, it's like playing a crazy board game.

Playwright Ira Levin obviously knew how to deliver humor with his suspense in a way that audiences continue to love. It actually could be the model for movies like "Scream," which self-consciously talks about how the murder plot will progress even as it's acted out in front of you.

Director Chuck Tweed turned to Jewel Box veterans to mount the five-character piece.

Rob May captures the old-school rogue in Sidney nicely, while Michel Cross also coolly maintains the classy old-money mask of his wife. Dale Morgan, often seen in comic roles, uses that lightness to introduce the student as duped innocent.

James Gordon works well as a confidante lawyer, while Susan Reville adds wonderful color as a Dutch psychic.

If it all sounds a bit familiar, that's probably because so many people have stolen gimmicks from Levin's play over the past three decades that the original occasionally feels like a parody of itself.

But for those who have never seen the double-crosses that continue to the last corkscrew twist, or even those who want to check out the beginning after knowing how it ends, it's a fun ride.

"?Linda McDonald


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