"It is not the critic who counts. Not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause."
-Theodore Roosevelt

24 July 2009

Deathtrap

Canberra Repertory opened Deathtrap tonight. A comedy about an ageing playwright ready to kill to get what he wants.

What I found most interesting about Deathtrap was its style. This is a play by an Australian playwright, written in the late 1970s, and very much set in that time and place; but it has all the hallmarks of an excellent British comedy from the 1960s. The madcap humour, dialogue almost entirely dependent on wit, and a very conventional structure, all mark this play as something other than what it is, and were I not aware that it was an Australian play, I would have assumed it wasn't, despite the references to Sydney's northern suburbs.

It is a lot of fun: one of those plays that you could well come away from with a sore belly from all the laughing. I didn't, though. Maybe the timing was a bit off due to opening night nerves, or maybe I just like a little more meat on characters' bones than Levin provides, but it was good.

2 comments:

Samantha said...

Sorry Trev, but Ira Levin is an American playwright and the script was originally set in New York. Corille made some changes to locate it in Aus to avoid actors having to attempt American accents.

Trevar said...

Well that makes a lot more sense! I'm still surprised that I could identify it as un-Australian in style. It's not like there's some particular thing you can point to in it that identifies it as foreign, but the style of it just kind of marks it as being from a different culture.

I can't remember who it was, but someone told me before I saw it that it was an Australian play, and I just never doubted them.