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Dark humor takes Mainstage with "Deathtrap"

by Sarah Morris - Copy Editor
Tue, Oct 10th 2017 12:00 pm
Photos by Emma Misiaszek/PHOTO EDITOR
Dramatically funny, `Deathtrap` combines black comedy and dramatic suspense. Sidney Bruhl is able to convey seriousness in his role.
Photos by Emma Misiaszek/PHOTO EDITOR Dramatically funny, "Deathtrap" combines black comedy and dramatic suspense. Sidney Bruhl is able to convey seriousness in his role.
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“Deathtrap”: a truly dark comedy with so many plot twists, it’s hard to follow at times. Put on by the Fine Arts Program at The College at Brockport, the play “Deathtrap” is a five-character thriller, taking place entirely in one room, the office of main character Sidney Bruhl, in Westport, Connecticut.

After one of Bruhl’s students, Clifford Anderson, writes the script of a play he entitled “Deathtrap”, Bruhl becomes insanely jealous by the hypothetical fame and fortune Anderson would receive if his play were to ever make it on Broadway. Being a once-successful playwright, Bruhl hasn’t recovered from the 15 minutes of fame he got for a few of his plays, most notably “The Murder Game”. 

Portraying Sidney Bruhl is Robert Battle, whose pristine voice and many hand gestures made him the perfect choice for the main role. He captured Bruhl’s uptightness and perfectionism with exuberance and was obviously the star of “Deathtrap”.

As Bruhl’s wife, Myra Bruhl, Samantha Bragg brought a lot of emotion into the plotline of the play. Bragg portrayed her anxiety ridden character with plenty of crying, hyperventilating, shaking from fear and constant embroidering after her deranged husband tells her of his plan to murder Anderson.

Anderson, who wrote “Deathtrap”, is invited over to the Bruhls’ to discuss his play and, as Sidney Bruhl jokes to his wife, to be killed. Played by Slade Murphy-Whiteley, Anderson is the youngest in the play and the most naïve. Murphy-Whiteley’s childish profile and innocent-sounding voice made him a great choice for the part.

Miriam Thige, who plays Helga ten Dorp, the supposedly psychic neighbor of the Bruhls, was the most comedic part of the play, never failing to make the audience laugh at whatever she said or did. Ten Dorp’s humor and eccentricity throughout the play brought her character to life more than others.

In the second act of the production, the audience is introduced to Porter Milgrim, Sidney Bruhl’s attorney, played by Steve Penta. Milgrim, the most serious of the characters of “Deathtrap”, barely had a part, but it was played well. Showing next to no emotion until the very end of the play, Milgrim set a more serious tone in the otherwise goofy play.

The best part about the play, besides the substantial acting, was the stage setup. Since the play only takes place in one setting, the set designers and crew put forth much time and effort into the set.

Overall the play began slow, but when the curtain came up the second time, the audience was engrossed in the action and drama. And after the first of many plot twists, it can be assumed that every member of the audience gasped from shock. 

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