Snapshot: “Deathtrap”

Joe Kellen


(For more info on the play itself, check out the article here.)

When you first enter the Jungle Theater, adorned in colors of red and gold, you begin to float into a different era. A wall of headshots, dim light cast on golden statues—it feels as if you ought to be wearing a bowtie.

The lobby starts the experience, but the transportation itself can only be attributed to the work of director Bain Boehlke and the cast, who found the rhythms of “Deathtrap” and built a three-dimensional world out of its logic. With simplicity and grace, Boehlke led us through the structure that we’ve come to know from Agatha Christie novels and filmic traditions of times past and sold it. Due to the sheer power of the cast (specifically Steve Hendrickson’s nuanced, diabolical Bruhl), “Deathtrap” received authentic gasps, laughs, and applause. It’s always nice to see an often-parodied genre succeed in its original intent, and it did so because of its pure commitment to telling the story. While the play slumped in the second act and could’ve used more urgency and speed, Boehlke and his company gave us something that lived in an older tradition of theatre and lived in it well. I almost forgot the age of the stained, amber curtain that opened and closed the show in the movement of the play, suggesting that maybe when you hear someone rave about “timelessness” and the “classics,” there’s something to it (at least if it’s in capable hands).