Anthony Shaffer’s mysterious Tony winning play “Sleuth,” is a sly thriller that centers around a well-known mystery writer, Andrew Wyke, (Warren Kelley) who invites an Englishman named Milo Tindle (Michael Zlabinger) to his extravagant mansion. Much to Andrew’s disgression, Milo is infatuated with his wife and intends to marry her. The first couple of scenes are hilariously uncomfortable as Andrew questions Milo about his wife. This evening between the two men quickly turns into an elaborate psychological game of cat and mouse as Andrew attempts to convince Milo to commit a Jewelry heist that could cost Milo his career and even his livelihood.
Warren Kelley is an utter delight as the eccentric mystery author, Andrew Wyke. While very comedic in his interactions with Zlabinger’s Milo, Kelley has a command of the stage that is incredibly impressive. While the character is a famous author, there is always a knowing air of danger and mystery in Kelley’s performance that generates a great deal of suspense. The character of Andrew gets a fair share of sharp one liners, and Kelly delivers each of them in an incredibly witty fashion.
Michael Zlabinger’s Milo Tindle is an excellent foil to Kelley’s eccentric Andrew Wyke. At first glance, the character of Milo is, in many ways, the complete opposite of Andrew. He is clean cut, sophisticated and his personality is very dry. As the play goes on, Zlabinger’s Milo grows to become extremely cunning and slick. Although the character of Milo does not have as many standout comedic moments as Kelley’s Andrew, Zlablinger brings great elegance and depth to the proceedings. Both actors display impeccable chemistry with each other and are truly the highlights of the evening.
Albert Reid, Jack Edwards and Jerry Marr make a nice appearance in the second half as the bumbling detectives. Although only on stage for a couple of scenes, all three actors work extremely well together. This play is clearly a showcase for Kelley’s Andrew and Zlablinger’s Milo, but Reid, Edwards and Marr also deliver equally strong performances.
William James Mohney’s transporting set design literally puts the audience in the center of the action. Surrounded with extremely detailed props by Katelin Walsko and chilling lighting by Josh Schlader, Mohney’s strikingly elaborate set makes the audience believe that they are in Andrew’s English Mansion. Mohney’s set instantly catches the eye and while it is certainly a sight to behold, it also greatly sets the audience up for the evening of excitement to come.
Andrew Kindig does an excellent job in his direction for “Sleuth”. Kindig doesn’t try to overwhelm the audience with spectacle. Instead, he decides to let Anthony Shaffer’s brilliant writing simply speak for itself. This decision works in spades, as the actors deliver Shaffer’s words magnificently. Much praise must also be given to Anthony Lascoskie Jr.’s incredibly detailed costume design. All of the performances feel incredible real and natural; that is in large part to Lascoskie’s lovely costumes. Matthew Moran’s sound design makes ever witty expression in Shaffer’s play incredibly clear to all. This is a production where all of the creative elements work in favor of the story, and the show is all the better for it.
“Sleuth” is a truly excellent opener to The Fulton’s intimate and innovative Studio series. Brimming with vibrant and witty dialogue, intriguing characters, and a visually stunning physical production, this is a play that audiences will not want to miss. Thriller plays are known for generating conversation, and the Fulton’s production of “Sleuth” is no exception. This marvelous play is full of thrilling twists and turns that will keep audiences talking long after the conclusion of this brilliant production.