Metro Theatre, one of Vancouver’s oldest theatre companies, is remarkable unto itself. Not only does it operate out of its own venue, but it’s entirely volunteer run. Everyone who takes part in the Metro Theatre is wholeheartedly dedicated to performance; on that small stage, there is no such thing as a half-assed performance or a lazy actor.

Out of the nine productions a year, there is always a murder mystery. The current one, Deathtrap, strays from that motif. Instead of watching a murder being solved, Ira Levin’s famous play watches several being committed. Deathtrap is Broadway’s longest running thriller, but it is much more than what the genre implies. Full of comedic relief and dotted with shocking moments, Deathtrap is the epitome of morbid humour. Never before have I found myself laughing at vicious murder.

Deathtrap follows the story of thriller playwright Sidney Bruhl (Drew Taylor) who hasn’t turned out a hit play in years. One day, he receives a draft of a new thriller from a young new writer, Clifford Anderson (James Behenna) and realizes immediately what a sensation it could be. His wife (Melanie Preston) urges him to help Anderson polish the piece, so he invites him over to their spacious, weapon-filled house. But Bruhl invites him with a slightly different plan in mind, which evolves further as he realizes that the young writer is alone, no one else has seen the play, and no one knows he is coming to visit. As intellectual and devious minds clash, the play by Bruhl and Anderson (called Deathtrap) starts to resemble the play by Ira Levin (also called Deathtrap) which we, of course, are watching. The plot is like a set of Russian Matryoshka dolls; as each layer is unveiled, it seems like the last one. But, up to the last moment, there is always another secret hidden within. As an audience, you are given plenty of information to figure out the murder that is to be committed, and yet it still comes as a complete shock that will have everyone exchanging theories with their neighbours at intermission.

For a lighthearted thriller, whole hearted entertainment, and a captivating plot, Deathtrap runs until February 8 at the Metro Theatre. Tickets are $22/$25.

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