On a busy theater weekend in the Tower, ‘Deathtrap’ gains a fan

Photo by Mychal Schillaci

‘Deathtrap’ plays at the Revue through Feb. 16.

Where is the Fresno hotspot for theater this weekend? The Tower District, to be sure. Along with Good Company’s regular schedule at Roger Rocka’s and the 2nd Space, three other short-run productions are within walking distance: “The Valentine” at the Vista Theatre (at Fresno Music Academy & Arts); “Songs for a New World” at the Tower Theatre Lounge; and “Deathtrap” at the Revue.

Pictured above: ‘Deathtrap’ plays at the Revue through Feb. 16.  Photo: Mychal Schillaci

“Deathtrap,” which opened on Broadway in 1978, is a thriller in two acts written by Ira Levin. It holds the record for the longest-running comedy thriller on Broadway and was nominated for four Tony awards, including Best Play.

Jackie Ryle, theater lover and loyal supporter of The Munro Review, caught an opening-weekend performance of the Saint Schizophrenia production and couldn’t wait to tell me about it. She writes:

Presented in the back room of the Revue, the staging and sets were created by company members Kate McKnight (as Myra Bruhl), Sean Matthew Howard (Sidney Bruhl), Antonio Olivera (Clifford Anderson), Gretchen Braver (Helga Ten Dorp), and Isaac Birnbaum (Porter Milgrim).


In the words of the self-titled “Head Inmate,” Howard writes in his program note that he can’t even begin to count the times he watched the film version of “Deathtrap” as a kid. He loved the twisting story and always wanted a reason to build a garrote that squirts blood, never dreaming he would be staging it one day.

This team of talented performers does the play real credit, enhanced by the intimate venue and creative sets. Even with the pre-show warning of explosive sounds and action, there are shocks, thrills and laughs.

I have seen the show and was familiar with the drama, and still the suspense had me on the edge of my seat. The physicality right there in front of us took me by surprise (though I wasn’t close enough to be in the line of a squirting blood.) These cast members clearly brought out the best in each other, as well as the drama of the story. I thoroughly enjoyed the production from opening to final bow.

There you have it: a rave from Jackie. Thank you, Ms. Ryle.

“Deathtrap” plays at the Revue (620 E. Olive Ave.) at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14; and 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15.

Here’s a blurb about the presenter:

Saint Schizophrenia Studios represents the work of identical brothers, The Amazing Tumnus, Sean Matthew Howard and Daedalus Jones. They do art things. Images. Words. Concepts. You know, “art things”. Up to a couple months ago their work was centered on painting and writing, but an extra dose of madness hit unexpectedly and they decided to stage their first play. While it was originally conceived as a one-off art project, the attendant joy and satisfaction of this project, has left them pondering the possibilities of this being a regular tool in their story-telling box.

(Note: Story updated to correct Saturday performance time and the spelling of Braver’s name.)

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Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

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