Deathtrap at International City Theatre

How far will one go to get what they want? That’s the question raised in Deathtrap. A delightful horror comedy play written by Ira Levin. Deathtrap is currently playing at International City Theatre in Long Beach just in time for Halloween. I was thrilled to return to this beautiful venue and see the show opening weekend. 

Deathtrap tells the story of successful playwright Sidney Bruhl (played by Geoffrey Lower). Sidney has written some of the most successful horror thrillers on Broadway but is currently a bit down on his luck. As he tries to pen his next hit, he receives the first and only copy of a script called Deathtrap. It’s one of the best he’s ever read and was written by a student he mentored at a seminar, Clifford Anderson (Coby Rogers). 

Sidney’s wife Myra (Jill Remez) is just as intrigued. She encourages her husband to partner with Clifford as a co-producer. Sidney has other ideas. Given he’s the only person to know about Deathtrap and has plenty of antique weapons in their home from past productions, why not just off Clifford and take the play as his own? Or, perhaps Sidney and Myra are not the only ones to know about their malicious plan. Helga fen Dorp (Michelle Holmes), a renowned psychic, has just moved in next door. Thus, begins a hilarious romp of antics and chills to keep guests on the edge of their seats. 

Jill Remez, Coby Rogers, Geoffrey Lower. Photo by Kayte Deimoa
Michelle Holmes and Patrick Vest. Photo by Kayte Deimoa

The Cast and Creatives of Deathtrap

The ensemble of five is completed by Patrick Vest (who also serves as fight choreographer) as Porter Milgrim. Porter is Sidney’s lawyer and is unassuming of all that’s happening within the Bruhl household. The cast works extremely well together. Some may recall Lower, who has an impressive resume of both stage and screen work, as Reverend Johnson on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. Rogers nails it as a naive-eyed student in Act One. Holmes is a comical scene stealer as the medium with an exaggerated European accent.

I knew I needed to see Deathtrap when I read Jamie Torcellini was directing. Torcellini directed ICT’s 2018 production of the 39 Steps which was a highlight for me that year. Torcellini has once again directed a show that effortlessly combines humor and suspense. Fred Kinney heads the scenic design. I appreciated his simplicity that left room for interpretation during A Noise Within’s production of The Bluest Eye. For Deathtrap, all action takes place in Sidney’s living room. Kinney has once again masterfully curated a set that leaves that space for analysis. All while we’re clearly in the dwellings of a horror and crime playwright. 

Crystal Shomph’s lighting design is ideal for dramatic scene changes. The lights go pitch black which adds to the tension in the room. When a storm starts brewing, the weather change is believable that we’re in the capacity of thunder, lightning, and the power flickering in Connecticut’s Westport. 

Deathtrap at International City Theatre

Deathtrap plays at the International City Theatre in Long Beach through November 5th. See the complete schedule here. It’s also a great time to consider joining ICT as a subscriber. In addition to first access to the best-priced tickets, a subscription also includes 20 percent off at several restaurants around town. Downtown Long Beach is beautiful and it’s a perfect opportunity for making a day of it.