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Carnegie’s “Sleuth” Keeps the Audience Guessing

Review by Doug Iden of “Sleuth”:

I love a mystery – especially one with a labyrinthine plot featuring a titanic verbal battle between two master gamesters. This is the premise in the play Sleuth showing at The Carnegie Theater. In the Anthony Shaffer masterpiece, an older man, Andrew Wyke, (played by Brent Burington) matches wits with Milo Tindle (portrayed by Rory Sheridan) whom Andrew suspects is having an affair with his wife. The “cat and mouse” banter is delightful, reminiscent of classic British mysteries from the Golden Age. Both actors are superb at the battle of one-upmanship. The enjoyment of the show is trying to figure out the complexity of the plot before the characters in the play do. Several gasps from the audience indicate that the playwright is normally ahead of the crowd.

The intricate set of an old English manor house (designed by Ryan Howell) is almost another character in the show. The stage has a cluttered, almost chaotic look highlighted by a life-sized, animated sailor who laughs at (mocks?) the characters. The clutter in the claustrophobic set contributes to a major plot point in the second act as Andrew searches frantically for hidden articles that could prove his undoing.

Despite the extended exposition, the play moves quickly due to the skill of the actors and the directorial talents of Greg Procaccino.   My only quibble was uneven sound. As the actors moved around the stage, their voices became louder or softer which seemed to be due to microphone issues.

So grab your Deerstalker and try to out-guess Sleuth running at The Carnegie through November 22.