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  • Writer's pictureSarah

Unveiling the Twists and Turns: A Review of Deathtrap the play at The Mill at Sonning

Waterwheel behind glass with seating in front
The Waterwheel in action

A trip to The Mill at Sonning is always a treat, and it's always lovely to recieve a press invitation. It's a clever format; the ticket includes a pre-show two course meal, which takes away any anxieties of where to eat and drink pre-show, this can be tricky and often feel really rushed. The main course is self-service usually with a meat pie, a fish dish, a chicken dish, a vegan dish and a choice of vegetables and salads. There's normally a choice of 5 or so desserts including cheese and biscuits which is waiter served alsong with a tea or coffee.

The venue itself is both beautiful and sustainable, with the water wheel from the original flour mill providing the electricity to the theatre. Oh, and there's the little matter of George Clooney living next door. We've not glimpsed him yet on any of our visits, although evidently he does turn up to Storytime from time to time to read to the children. How amazing must that be?

Whilst Deathtrap the play may have been penned by Ira Lewin in 1978, I had not seen it, so approached it with fresh eyes, no pre-conceptions, and a desire to be entertained. A writer well known for his penchant for horror, macabre and fantastic many of Ira's novels were turned into Hollywood films such as Rosemary's Baby, The Boys from Brazil, and the Stepford Wives. In Deathtrap, he blended the thriller genre with a liberal serving of humour, leading to great success on Broadway from 1978 to 1982.

Man witing on a notepad at a desk with a typewriter
Nick Waring as Sidney Bruhl. Photo Andreas Lambis

Sidney Bruhl (played by Nich Waring) is a playright who has been living off past glories, but is now stuck for inspiration and has a bad case of writers block, and the money is running out. Up pops Clifford Anderson (played by George Warkins), a previous student who has written a brilliant new play. Sidney and his wife Myra (played by Emily Raymond) invite him around to their home in Connecticut with an eye on taking a share of the royalities for the play.

There follow numerous twists and turns, as the quest for money turns murderous, with some moments that genuinely made me jump with suprise. There are big secrets revealed, but who can be trusted? It seems that the neighbour, Helga ten Dorp, who is gifted with ESP is the only one to sense that not all is as it should be. Played by Issy Van Randwyck she provides much of the comedy, though the character didn't completely land for me.

The play moves along at a cracking pace, and there is real chemistry between Nick Waring's and George Watkin's characters. If you like a thriller, then this is a show for you.

Where is it playing?

The Mill at Sonning Theatre

Sonning Eye



Ticket prices include a 2 course meal

When is it playing?

Now until 30th March 2024


Nick Waring (Sidney Bruhl)  

George Watkins (Clifford Anderson)

Philip Childs (Porter Milgrim)

Emily Raymond (Myra Bruhl)

Issy van Randwyck (Helga ten Dorp)

Creative team:

Director Tam Williams

Set Designer Michael Holt

Costume Designer Natalie Titchener

Lighting Designer Graham Weymouth

Sound Design Technical Team at The Mill at Sonning

Fight Director Jonathan Leverett  

Casting Kate Plantin CDG

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