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REVIEW: Thrills and twists galore as Deathtrap run continues at Queen’s Theatre, in Hornchurch

PUBLISHED: 11:53 08 November 2013 | UPDATED: 11:54 08 November 2013

Matt Devitt as Sydney Bruhl  and Elliot Harper as Clifford Anderson, who travels to Sydney's country cabin for help with his first play.

Matt Devitt as Sydney Bruhl and Elliot Harper as Clifford Anderson, who travels to Sydney's country cabin for help with his first play.

©Nobby Clark nobby@nobbyclark.co.uk

Thrilling twists and devious plots are plentiful at the Queen’s Theatre, in Hornchurch, this month as Ira Levin’s Deathtrap continues its run.

The play opened on October 25, telling the tale of playwright Sydney Bruhl who is struggling to recapture the success of his former Broadway hits.

That is until a young writer, Clifford Anderson, sends in his first attempt at a thriller - Deathtrap.

Bruhl, played by Matt Devitt, is almost visibly green with envy and along with his wife Myra, played by Anna Skye, hatches a plan to ride Clifford’s coattails back to Broadway.

Then Queen’s stage is transformed into an impressively detailed log cabin - far removed from any major city.

Devitt’s cunningly devlish Bruhl invites Clifford to work on a revised edition of his play - laughing off his initial suggestions that he murder the young playwright and claim his work.

A tense atmosphere successfully captures the entire audience as Bruhl battles with the evident inner angst - to kill or not to kill?

The set is peppered with weapons, from daggers to pistols, but it’s evident the most dangerous element in the room is Sydney himself.

Rollnecks and pocket squares are not usually the stuff of nightmares, but Devitt’s portrayal of a man desperate to reignite his flame is engrossing.

His eyes darts, he voice roars and he patrols the wooden floor, with a glass of scotch in hand, while Skye succeeds in convicing as a woman on the edge.

The unease is relaxed somewhat by Clifford’s arrival at the lodge, but the situation soon turns sour when Sydney introduces a supposed pair of Harry Houdini’s handcuffs to the proceedings.

A tall and strong presence, Sydney’s menace is only added to as he seemingly overawes the youngster - who admits only wishes to emulate his hero.

Any dastardly plot is further complicated by the arrival of Bibi Nerheim as the psychic Helga ten Dorp - a performance that provides much need light to an otherwise dark first act.

Gasps are audible in the crowd as this play pushes and pulls your expectations, before totally tearing them apart.

Those strong enough in heart and mind to withstand two hours and 30 minutes of thrillingly dark comedy can see Deathtrap at the Queen’s until Saturday, November 16.

Tickets range from £23 to £26.50, visit queens-theatre.co.uk.


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