It’s a bit of a jaunt traveling south to Little Fish Theatre in San Pedro, CA, but assuredly worth the trip. Little Fish’s current production of Sleuth, the 1970’s Tony Award winning genre mystery play written by Anthony Shaffer which eventually made its way to film, notably starring such actors as and , in various iterations, is not an updated thriller, but in its current live theatrical form, is no less, potently entertaining.
This two character play currently starring Richard Perloff as famous mystery writer, Andrew Wyke and Bryson Jones Allman as Milo Tindle, is filled not so much with after-the-fact whodunnit intrigues but rather puts itself together like a puzzle for which one already knows the final picture but which is never-the-less, incredibly fascinating in figuring out how the pieces fit together.
Andrew Wyke, lures his wife’s lover, Milo Tindle, an English travel agent born of a Sicilian expat father, to his mansion, and convinces him to stage a robbery of her jewelery so he can offset her lifestyle expenses for Milo and therefore be rid of her for good. Of course, nothing is at all the way it seems, and as the play progresses new lies weave through old ones in a sort of mimicry of characters in one of Wyke’s novels.
Wyke and Tindle have more than just Wyke’s wife in common, they both know how to ‘play games’, the game of ‘revenge’ being the chief enterprise in Sleuth. While the first act is stylistically predictable, it’s really the second act of this show that packs a wallop.
Perloff and Allman are venerably matched in this production. Both actors, blow for blow, display an easy mastery in pulling out all the stops in this deadly game of wit, and one upmanship, for a stunning and savory surprise ending.
Exquisite scenic painting by Daryl Hogue and set design has created an immersive experience for this small theatre which is made dramatically large for this production, so well-directed by James Rice. All the elements of this top rate show are notable: costumes by Marlee Delia, props by Teresa Stirewalt, sound design Jessica Westerfield, fight choreography by Patrick Vest and lighting design by Stacey Abrams.
Now Playing Until March 31st
Written by Anthony Shaffer
Directed by James Rice
Produced by Tara Donovan