Onstage: Sleuth

It's no mystery that Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park is one of America's most successful regional theaters. (If you need proof, just check out the two Tony Awards on display in the lobby.) But mysteries have been popular offerings over the years, most p

It’s no mystery that Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park is one of America’s most successful regional theaters. (If you need proof, just check out the two Tony Awards on display in the lobby.)

But mysteries have been popular offerings over the years, most particularly Anthony Shaffer’s Sleuth, which was a big draw when the Playhouse marked its 25th anniversary. Now that the 50th season is opening, they’re bringing back the story of mystery writer Andrew Wyke for whom life is an elaborate game and his acquaintances are merely pawns at his disposal. He draws his estranged wife’s lover into a cat-and-mouse game of epic proportions where nothing is quite as it seems.

Says director Michael Evan Haney, “During their battle of wits, the men employ deceit, jealousy, game playing, class warfare and humiliation … as they fight over the woman who is both wife and mistress.”

The show is a proven audience pleaser, having run in London for more than 2,300 performances and then for another 2,000 on Broadway where it won a Tony Award for best play. It’s been made into a film twice, in 1972 starring Sir Laurence Olivier as Wyke and Michael Caine as his young rival, then as a remake in 2007 with Caine into Wyke’s role and Jude Law as his adversary.

Haney recently picked up a Cincinnati Entertainment Award for directing the Playhouse’s 2009 production of Blackbird, named last season’s best drama. His deft touch with staging personal encounters will make Sleuth an evening of gripping entertainment. Through Oct. 3.

Get show, ticketing and Playhouse details here.

Read Tom McElfresh's review here.

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