Monday, July 11, 2016

DEATHTRAP


Sydney played by F.C Nieuwoudt is a playwright on the slide. He penned The Murder Game, but since then his ideas have dried up. He stagnates in his Bangkok apartment wondering where his next hit will come from. The set and the space are well designed and eye-catching in this Bangkok production. We feel like we are in that apartment as Sydney’s wealthy wife Myra played by Cherene Knop sweeps the apartment and converses while Sydney manfully drinks what we assume is prop brandy, striding around his man cave contemplating his future with a grizzled outlook and a jaded delivery typical of a scribe on the slide. 

Knop and Nieuwoudt. Photo Loni Berry

Nieuwoudt plays the part solidly and convincing without a glimmer of hesitation or pause the entire show. Good strong delivery and expert timing from the young South African, and Knop, also from South Africa handles her part confidently, although perhaps a slight notch too enthusiastic with the screams when young Sirisak Pituck is apparently offed in the first act.  

The set designed by Loni Berry with help from Bangkok drama students consists of various weaponry; props from past fame, various knives, guns, a pair of Houdini’s handcuffs make for a subtle Chekhov’s gun. I found myself drawn to the room, and it was a nice touch to switch the location in the dialogue to Bangkok. There's a sense of audience participation, of being part of the show.

Pituck and Nieuwoudt. Photo. Loni Berry.

So on with the plot. Salvation arrives, perhaps, in the shape of a script entitled DEATHTRAP. It has drama, excitement, it will put the bums back in the theater seats, it will drive Bangkok crazy and the audience will be hungry for more. The script is written by Clifford and played by the aforementioned Sirisak Pituck.

Sydney invites the young scriptwriter over to discuss the work. But foul play is afoot as  Sydney  plots the removal of  Clifford's body having stolen the script.  “We'll put him in the back of the car, drive up to Isaan, and we bury him,” he tells his distraught wife.

But Clifford is alive all along and the victim is now Myra. We keep up with the plot, the twists and turns, screams and laughs and the murder. Following Myra's murder an onstage kiss and the young scriptwriter Clifford is now to become Sydney's live in lover, secretary, and collaborator. 

Belletti and Nieuwoudt. Photo Loni Berry. 
Despite a visit from his lawyer played by celebrity cyclist Ross Cain and a psychic Helga played by attractive Italian model Cecilia Belletti things seem to be running along smoothly. Until, that is, it comes to light that the younger man has an idea for a new play that would put the pair in an uncomfortable position with the law. The action heats up.

There are relationships here, character development, twists and turns and much humor along the way, As things spiral quickly towards a succession of final twists we are left satisfied with a finale that we didn't see coming. This is a tight production of a popular Broadway smash and it delivers on the BKK stage.

Although director Loni Berry’s run was short, just a week, with Deathtrap in Bangkok there are rumors that the DEATHTRAP may run again. We can only hope so . This is a neat two act one set production and we look out for more from the Culture Collective Studio production team.

The Beat Goes On in Bangkok.   

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