1468 Dayton St, Aurora, CO 80010
It would seem no one can ever escape the lure of a good mystery, of a mindful game of cat and mouse, but how long can this game go on before one becomes… exhausted? The answer lies within the Vintage Theatre’s production of Sleuth that opened on Friday evening, to a thrilled audience.
Directed by Bernie Cardell, this play follows mystery novelist Andrew Wyke, who invites his wife’s lover over to his home, for a chat. Quickly the meeting turns into a game where the audience finds themselves caught in an interesting mystery ridden battle of wits. The first act of the show is phenomenal, leaving you guessing at every turn, and wondering how this all will turn out in the end. I found myself on the edge of my seat upon watching the two leading men, Mark Rubald (Andrew) And Brandon Palmer (Milo) interact trying to outplay the other. Both men are devilishly wonderful in their roles, all the while being extremely charming.
While I found myself completely enthralled within the first act of the daring game of who is really who, and what the underlying motive was, I found myself being guided into a slight state of confusion upon sitting through the second act. Listed in the playbill are five lead actors, and while I found it interesting to see an all male cast, I was struck when three of the five did not appear on stage. This comes across as a confusing choice, as I at first did not understand why this was done. Perhaps it was done to put the wool over the audiences eyes and take them into a slow realization. However the less I saw of the actors the more I found myself looking into the playbill, instead of the show, trying to piece together when they would actually appear; only to find them nonexistent.
The choice was defiantly a risk, however sadly it does not pay off, leaving its audience in a slight confusion throughout the second act. While Cardell direct’s the show well, and his actors pull out all the stops on their performances, the fall comes within the writing. The show I feel could have been a bit shorter, allowing the audience to take in the state of shock that they are given at the end of the first act. The second feels more like the game will never end, repeating and repeating the same misguided less suspenseful game that we have already seen played not once, twice, but four times when the show final ends. Leaving you a bit tired, headache ridden, and distasteful at the thought of someone messing with another person for so long.
Granted given the time the play was written. I can see why so many people adored it, and why it earned the Tony for best play in 1970. With that being said, if risks were to be taken, I believe it should have been taken on a more plot driven decision, instead of the playbill.
There is no doubt that this production is a mystery driven game of chess, that will leave you shocked and delighted to have seen a whimsical sadistic game being played before your eyes. It just doesn’t know when to allow itself to declare the winner.
Sleuth runs through March 11th, at the Vintage theatre. For tickets contact the box office, at (303) 856-7830 or online at http://www.vintagetheatre.com/current-productions/