“Sleuth – Brandon Palmer and Mark Rubald” (Provided by RDG Photography)
In 1971 SLEUTH received the Tony Award for Best Play. The following year playwright Anthony Shaffer adapted his play for a film, which starred Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine. According to Shaffer, the play had been partially inspired by his friend, Stephen Sondheim, who loved playing games.
Shaffer sets this thriller in Andrew Wyke’s Wiltshire manor house. Wyke, who is a huge success as mystery writer, has created a home which reflects his obsessions with the deceptive inventions of fiction and game-playing.
The author invites his wife’s lover, Milo Tindle, to come over to his home, and coerces him to stage a robbery. The chain of events which then spiral out of control leave us as audience to decide where imagination ends and reality begins. In this critic’s not so humble opinion this cat and mouse game is written with such delightful skill and wit it’s impossible not to get swept away by it.
The acting stuns!
Mark Rubald’s whirlwind reading of the part of Andrew Wyke is breathtaking in its shifts of accent and persona. Brandon Palmer’s Tindle, who struggles to keep up with the quicksilver nature of Wyke’s imagination, is the perfect foil.
All of Bernie Cardell’s magical directorial instincts are at work here allowing playwright Shaffer’s world of mystery and mayhem to do its work magnificently.
Alex Polzin’s beautifully appointed set design is an astonishing work of art. The wrap-around nature of Polzin’s design is full of character-defining detail that allows Wyke’s home to become a character all unto itself.
The costumes by Susan Rahmsdorff-Terry and lighting by Vance Mackenzie enhance the production.