Deathtrap at the Noel Coward Theatre in London – Round-up of Reviews
Deathtrap marks the first big show to arrive in town at the start of this autumn’s West End openings. And it’s a biggie, with much anticipation around the pairing of acting giant Simon Russell-Beale and Glee heart-throb Jonathan Groff, along with director Matthew Warchus turning his intelligent eye to another genre ripe for reinvention – in this case, the thriller.
But much of Warchus’s work in the reinvention stakes seems to have been done for him in Ira Levin’s 1978 comedy thriller, which neatly deconstructs and exposes the inner workings of the well-made thriller, with plenty of shocks and laughs along the way.
And it’s this self-awareness that seemed to grate on the critics a bit: they had a good time, but didn’t seem to love it more than they had expected to.
The critical response certainly didn’t rival that generated by Warchus’s reinvention of the farce genre in Boeing, Boeing. However, the largely positive reviews gave the thumbs up to a very stylish and well turned-out revival of a crowd-pleaser.
Most critical praise was reserved for the slick direction, the creative team’s efforts and the performances – namely Russell-Beale and Groff. The ladies, Claire Skinner and Estelle Parsons, fared less well.
Finally, everyone struggled to not spoil the plot: as Charles Spencer says in the Telegraph, “I love thrillers but they are the devil to review because of the entirely justified convention that one mustn’t give too much away.”
Read extracts from Deathtrap reviews from the Times, Guardian, Telegraph, Stage and Evening Standard below.