Deathtrap Press Reviews at Noël Coward Theatre

A murder mystery so wickedly good, it’s to die for!

Ingeniously clever and hilariously twisted, Deathtrap is the most celebrated thriller by Ira Levin, author of The Stepford Wives, Rosemary’s Baby, The Boys from Brazil and A Kiss Before Dying.

Matthew Warchus directs a unique cast which includes Simon Russell Beale (lead in the sell-out National Theatre production of London Assurance) and Jonathan Groff (star of the hit US TV series Glee and lead in the Tony Award winning Broadway production of Spring Awakening). Time Out Best Actress Award-winner Claire Skinner will also star alongside celebrated New York stage actor Terry Beaver and Academy Award-winning actress Estelle Parsons.

Deathtrap Press Reviews:

As an act of period restoration, this isn’t a patch on Warchus’ makeover of Boeing-Boeing with Mark Rylance. Russell Beale’s Sidney Bruhl, a once successful playwright with a severe case of writer’s block, is driven to ecstasies of jealousy by a script sent to him by Groff’s too-cute-to-be-true Clifford Anderson, whom he tutored on a writers’ course.
Michael Coveney for (

Jonathan Groff makes a fresh-faced, apparently likeable adversary, but the other characters are thinly drawn with Claire Skinner wasted in the role of the wife, and the character of a bonkers psychic downright irritating in Estelle Parsons’ over-pitched performance.
Charles Spencer for Telegraph (

Russell Beale is excellent value and there are genuinely frightening moments, but I’m not convinced this is a classic thriller. What Levin has written is a diverting meta-thriller implying he is delivering the final obsequies over a once-flourishing but exhausted genre.
Michael Billington for Guardian (

With characters vying for possession of a murderous doubling-crossing stage-scenario that they are test-running in reality, the show has a built-in excuse for relentlessly jokey self-congratulation at its own ingenious meta-theatricality. It could get terribly grating, but Warchus wisely keeps the campiness within bounds and skilfully softens up the audience for the genuinely scary surprises.
Paul Taylor for The Independent (

Levin’s extravagantly plotted script is full of ingenious self-reference. It’s also outrageous; it strains credibility and appears thoroughly knowing about doing so. The result, besides a lot of good laughs, is a series of boldly theatrical and frankly camp moments, sometimes very silly yet perfectly calculated to jolt audiences out of their seats.
Henry Hitchings for Evening Standard (

Author Ira Levin wittily puts every bitter pill that a playwright has had to swallow on the table, as he has a writer of once-celebrated stage thrillers Sidney Bruhl, who has discovered, in his words, that “nothing recedes like success”, now reduced to teaching seminars on writing them instead of seeing his own successfully brought to the stage. It is at one such seminar that he meets a younger fan Clifford Anderson, who turns into his protege.
Mark Shenton for TheStage (

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