Driftwood Players

"Sleuth" Nov.-Dec. 1977

By Anthony Schaffer, Directed by Jeanne Wolfe

Standing From Left: David Nevitt: (Detective Sgt. Tarrant) J. Stephens Watts: (Police Constable Higgs)
Seated: Oliver Michaels: (Inspector Doppler) John Wolfe: (Milo Tindle) Hank Bilderback: (Andrew Wyke)

Pictures by
George McCleary

From The Daily World Saturday, November 19, 1977

Surprises spark 'Sleuth'

By Betty Butler
World Arts Editor

    What can be said about "Sleuth"? That it is an extraordinary play about extraordinary people who play games with the highest possible stakes and the ultimate penalty? That it is so full of surprises and twists that the audience at last night's opening performance was still a trifle dazed when the actors took their curtain calls?

    All that is true. The Driftwood Players production also includes performances by John Wolfe and Henry Bilderback that are intellectually challenging and physically and emotionally exhausting. If we told you how good they were, it would give away one of the surprises. At least one.

    It is a play of illusion following illusion in swift succession, the kind of play that the observer is still thinking about and sorting out in his mind as he leaves the theater. Bilderback's masterfully drawn intellectual, snobbish, egocentric Andrew Wyke versus John Wolfe's equally well-done naive, fiercely proud and vengeful Milo Tindle -- the ultimate tennis match.

    Technically, also, the play is challenging, with startling special effects dreamed up by director Jeanne Wolfe and husband John, dozens of off-beat properties collected be Bunny Ronald, and tricky sound and lights engineered by Jerry Keltner. The Makeup miracle lady, May Brook, had a hand in the illusions, too. It's all in the midst of an impressive English manor house designed by Gordon Miller and Jeanne Wolfe, and built under Betty Gretsch's direction.

    And there are other characters, too - newcomer Oliver Michaels, David Nevitt and J. Stephens Watts - convincing parts of a grand illusion.

    We can't say more than that, for we're not one of those nasty people who gives away the surprise ending. Except this - when you attend the play, look over the cast photos in the lobby, taken by George McCleary. They'll put you in the right frame of mind for the deadly game of tricks.

    "Sleuth" will show tonight and Friday and Saturday nights through Dec. 10, curtain at 8:15, at the Driftwood Playhouse in Hoquiam.

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