‘Sleuth’ by Anthony Shaffer is a production that will always keep you guessing. It’s mysterious and comedic and the characters, as you come to learn, have a flair for the dramatic. Vertigo Theatre’s production is the classic telling of the 1970s play that incorporates a fleeting role, in this case, performed by Helen Knight as Inspector Doppler. This play feels very male-dominated, telling a story of people who play around with murder as if it means nothing. The play is shocking and walks the line between drama and comedy.
The play tells of Andrew Wyke (Christopher Hunt) who resides at the luxurious Wiltshire manor and invites Milo Tindle (Braden Griffiths) to come by and proposes that they stage a robbery, with Tindle as the thief. When Wyke says, “I hear you want to marry my wife,” the audience gets the idea that Wyle might not have Tindle’s best interests at heart. Thus ensues a game that the master author Wyke has written about many times in novels, but didn’t think his opponent would be able to keep up.
Hunt and Griffiths have a natural dynamic and embody the theme of cat and mouse in the story. They duck and dive and play around with each other’s lives. They are a solid duo to take on the swift turns in the story. Knight is also solid in her brief appearance as the police inspector.
Andy Moro’s set design of Wiltshire manor adds definition to the narrative, illustrating Wyke’s wealth with grand staircases and walls of marble. The rubies that are meant to be stolen are suitably shiny, and the creepy clown at the manor’s entrance adds a comedic touch. Costume design by Hanne Loosen is critical to the narrative, with Wyke dressed in a velvet suit coat and Tindlein in a more practical suit. Lyall Jovie’s lighting design and Chad Blain’s sound design support the narrative and aid in illustrating the drama when the direction of the story changes. Cherissa Richards does an admirable job of directing this story of mostly rich, entitled men.
Vertigo Theatre’s Sleuth is a play that will keep you guessing and it’s definitely a light theatrical production. It doesn’t have much to say, so take it as it is.
Vertigo Theatre’s Sleuth runs until December 17th. More information is available online.
Photo by Tim Nguyen/ Fifth Wall Media