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Volume 91, Issue 23
Tuesday, October 7, 1997
frosh and go
Sleuthing out a good play
COLONEL MUSTARD DID IT AND HE USED THIS GUN IN THE LIBRARY. John Evans as Andrew Wyke and Patrick Galligan as Milo Tindle attempt to solve the mysterious mystery in Sleuth.
The manor house, the surefooted sleuth, the murder, the mayhem and the... comic hilarity?
These elements make up the superb opening production of The Grand Theatre's new season. Sleuth, by playwright Anthony Shaffer, (twin of playwright Peter Shaffer of Amadeus fame) is a play full of many twists, turns and secrets which at times leave one wondering what is real and what is illusion.
The story centres on Andrew Wyke (John Evans), a famous British mystery novelist who, as the play opens, is just finishing his latest novel starring the detective St. John Lord Merridew. Wyke receives a visitor, a young man by the name of Milo Tindle (Patrick Galligan). Tindle is a small-time travel agent. As the conversation between the two characters progresses, it is revealed that Tindle is sleeping with Wyke's wife.
One could expect Wyke would be furious and this is his chance to get revenge with his wife's lusty lover. Think that and you'd be quite wrong about what Sleuth is all about. Wyke has a plan whereby both he and Tindle will benefit. That is all the plot recapitulation that can be offered. Any more and the enjoyment of the play would be ruined.
Sleuth, written adeptly by Shaffer and directed with equal adeptness by artistic director Michael Shamata, is the perfect play to open this season at The Grand. It is at once a crowd-pleasing thriller which leaves the audience guessing and seems to fit nicely in the tradition of stage mysteries. Yet it is also an incredibly well-written play any critic can enjoy.
One aspect of the play that seemed of particular enjoyment to the audience was the humour. The actors had really mastered the witty dialogue spun by playwright Shaffer. Everyone howled to lines like "she had all the personality of chilled Lysol."
Even on opening night the actors seemed to have gelled together very nicely and worked into a cohesive entity. A small complaint, however, was overheard at the after-play reception. Patrick Galligan was chastised by an elderly patron, because she couldn't hear the actors very well and thought they talked a little too fast. Galligan apologized, but reminded her after all that this is opening night, "We're a bit nervous," he told her.
Galligan and Evans have nothing to fear. This production of Sleuth will leave you perplexed, laughing out loud and leaving the theatre thoroughly entertained.
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Copyright © The Gazette 1997