Vienna’s English Theatre presents Anthony Shaffer’s exemplary thriller, filled with deceit and deception

Ever popular on English-language stages since its premiere in 1970, Sleuth is highly structured, stylized and notorious for its many unexpected twists – the audience of the original production was even asked to keep mum about the plot as the complicated storyline was a major factor in the enjoyment of the play.

Sleuth
© Vienna’s English Theatre

Andrew Wyke is an old, rich eccentric, a self-absorbed writer of mystery novels who has an obsessive love for games of all sorts. Milo Tindle is a young, handsome man of meager means that has set his sights on Andrew’s wife. Wyke feigns amicability, luring his rival to his large stately home with the promise of renouncing his wife if Tindle stages a jewelry theft, but promptly turns the tables, playing a clever – and increasingly dangerous – cat-and-mouse game with a house full of puppets and props. Full of hidden meanings and clever reversals that keep the viewer constantly in tension, Sleuth was a hit from the onset, winning a Tony award and getting filmed twice –In 1972 with Laurence Olivier as the elder Wyke and Michael Caine as the younger Tindle, and in 2007 with Caine again (this time as Wyke) with Jude Law taking on the younger role.

With excellent sets and elaborate costumes adding to the atmosphere, the cast includes noted English actors Jonathan Coote, Chris Polick and Neville Spencer, accurately displaying Anthony Shaffer’s sophistication and savoir-faire. This version is directed by Philip Dart, a recurring director at Vienna’s English Theatre for the past ten years. In the past, he has put on Pygmalion, Charley’s Aunt and Lend Me a Tenor, among many other plays.

Through February 25, Vienna’s English Theatre