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"Deathtrap" keeps most of thrill and chills at Stage Door Theatre

Staff Writer

“Deathtrap” at Stage Door Theatre is a Rube Goldberg machine of a thriller, a complex device that accomplishes a simple task through a convoluted and whimsical series of chain reactions.

Maybe this is not an inspired staging, but it is a confident one. For rare indeed is the production that can get the bone-tingling chills of a murderous plot and the nervous laughs of a pseudo-drawing-room comedy by Ira Levin just right.

Here, director Hugh M. Murphy gets “Deathtrap” into the same dimension and onto the same plane as when the show debuted on Broadway in 1978, if not in the same exact sweet spot.

The story of a played-out thriller playwright Sidney (Kevin Reilley) and his nervous Nellie of a wife, Myra (Janet Weakley), coming across a script by novice Clifford (Shane R. Tanner) that is worth a killing survives the 35-year trip intact — providing you haven’t seen it before (or recently caught the 1982 movie with Michael Caine, Christopher Reeve and Dyan Cannon).

With support from a wonderfully WASP-y Glen Lawrence as a lawyer and the scene-grinding Paula Sackett as a psychic, “Deathtrap” still makes the most of its twists and turns over two hours with a 15-minute intermission.

“Deathtrap” runs through March 3 at Stage Door Theatre, 8036 W. Sample Road, in Coral Springs. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets cost $38 at 954-344-7765 or

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