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

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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.

PERFORMANCES
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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