Bill Watson as Sidney Bruhl, left, and Di’Monte
Henning as Clifford Anderson in Milwaukee Chamber
Theatre’s production of “Deathtrap.”
- Most people love a good murder mystery.
Certain ones stand out as classics. Who can
forget “Sleuth” or “Dial M for Murder” or
“Wait Until Dark”? Agatha Christie alone has written
them we see the limits to which some will go to gain
revenge or profit or even notoriety, and we are
intrigued at their ingenuity and also admire the
persistence of those who work to uncover the crimes.
the season opener at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre for its
chosen theme for 2017-18, The Mysteries of Life,
certainly provides a stunning beginning. Its
breathtaking set design and array of props (Arnel
Sancianco and Nikki Kulas) and its realistic sound and
lighting designs (Grover Hollway and Alexander Ridgers)
all contribute to the final result - a fascinating mix
of horror and humor.
Bruhl, a once-very-successful playwright suffering from
writer’s block and afraid of being finished as a
celebrated author, one day receives in the mail the
rough draft of a mystery play from a hopeful new young
author who is looking to Bruhl for his honed opinion of
his work in progress. Bruhl recognizes this as a
masterful piece of writing. He also remembers the author
as a former student of his who participated in one of
also can readily see that this young man has an
incipient success on his hands. Encouraged by his young
wife, Bruhl begins to fashion a way to cash in on
Clifford Anderson’s upcoming “hit.” He even
contemplates murdering him in order to assume ownership
of the property. Greed and desperation have definitely
emerged as powerful forces in both husband and wife.
there on, anything could happen, and, in fact almost
everything does. The five actors all do their part to
keep us engaged. Bill Watson as Bruhl blusters about
beautifully while his anxious wife, Myra (Susan
Spencer), tries to proceed with conniving calm.
Di’Monte Henning exudes confidence and cleverness
throughout as the ambitious young author, while the
psychic next door, boldly played by Mary Kababik,
provides a bizarre and creepy contrast to the other four
characters. David Sapiro as the duddy lawyer Porter
Milgram offers a couple surprises of his own. All the
characters are engrossing in their own way.
Elst, a talented fight choreographer, fulfilled his role
with his usual skill. His pupils learned well, and
director Michael Cotey worked his magic with the cast of
talented dramatic and technical artists.
can’t imagine anyone not enjoying this masterpiece.
The audience I was a part of on Sunday afternoon jumped
up with energetic appreciation as soon as the curtain
closed. Their response said it all.
won’t give away any of the twists in the plot, but I
encourage you all to experience them yourselves. I
promise you that you’ll be glad you didn’t miss this
murder mystery runs through Aug. 27 at Milwaukee Chamber
Theatre, 158 N. Broadway, Milwaukee. Call 414-291-7800
or visit milwaukeechambertheatre.com for times and