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3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  1,337 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Deathrap was first presented by Alfred de Liagre, Jr. & Roger L. Stevens at The Music Box theatre in NYC on 2/26/1978. Directed by Robert Moore, William Ritman scenery, Ruth Morley costumes, Marc B. Weiss lighting. Action takes place in Sidney Bruhl's study in Wesport CT.
Paperback, 80 pages
Published January 1st 1979 by Dramatist's Play Service (first published January 1st 1978)
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Hamlet by William ShakespeareMacbeth by William ShakespeareThe Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar WildeRomeo and Juliet by William ShakespeareA Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
Best Plays Ever
113th out of 557 books — 717 voters
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Goodreads Top 100 Stage Plays of All Time
100th out of 283 books — 228 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,939)
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A whole lot of fun, an equal amount of creepy, and a pinch of wtf is going on here.

I'd never enjoyed reading a play, after having already seen it, as much as I enjoyed this one, and that's saying something because I don't usually read plays unless they're assigned reading.

Highly recommended for people who like metafiction and mind games, as this is a story within a story pretending to be an imitation of a play for the purpose of carrying out the perfect murder. You'll never guess who dies, who r
Kind of brilliant! Tongue-in-cheek murder mystery - actually, it's funny. Justin and I were watching American Horror Story several weeks ago, and they showed a murderer's lair for the first time on the show. I said, "Hey, it looks just like the set of that murder movie..." and then couldn't think of the name of the movie at all. Or any more details about it, except I was pretty sure it had Michael Caine. Then this morning my colleague walks into my office with the script of "Deathtrap," which is ...more
Comedy thriller about a play within a play within a play within a play.
Marty Clarke
I give Deathtrap a solid A. Read it. Read it and tell me it isn't the most tightly wound thriller. Not a word wasted. Also, Ira has a great sense of humor and likes to fake the audience into a feeling that everything's going to be OK, but of course, he's just setting us up.
May 27, 2010 Cody rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: drama, glbt
I love this generic cover supplied by Dramatist Play Service for all their plays. Or, is there some play I don't know about called Acting Edition.

It's easy to see why Deathtrap is the longest running thriller in Broadway history. It's a masterwork!
Philip Fields
Dec 10, 2007 Philip Fields rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: EVERY1
This is the best play in the world so many reversals. some gay peeps. yadayada LOL! amazing so many reversals!!!!
deserves more than 5 stars
Nov 29, 2007 Liza rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who don't mind gore and like suprises
Shelves: thrillers
this thriller is VERY suprising and amazing!!!! read it!!!!!!!
Great play with amazing twist!
Jeremy Hurd
As a play, this has all the makings of a late 70's-early 80's era hit, with its elaborate blocking and witty dialogue. Overall, I think it's quite entertaining as a piece, and would imagine that it would be quite a spectacle to see performed live. However, the more I read of Ira Levin, two points of extreme irritation continuously come up that hamper my enjoyment of his work.

The first is his obvious hatred of women--they are always portrayed as buffoons, shrews, helplessly stupid, or some combi
I loved reading Deathtrap . It was funny, suspenseful, and full of twists. The characters were interesting and the dialogue was just perfect. I've never watched the play, but the script was written well enough that I could see the story play out in my head while I was reading. If you like thrillers and humor, I'd recommend Deathtrap . If you don't like thrillers and humor, I'd recommend Deathtrap anyways. That's just how good it was.
J.M. Slowik
A quick, tricky thriller. You might foresee the first plot twist coming but probably not the ones that follow. It's a plot composed solely of twists. Not to mention the play-within-a-play aspect, and requisite comic relief. It manages to maintain a rich aura of suspense and impending doom not at all unlike his novel Rosemary's Baby. And though I've not seen the movie adapted from this, I couldn't help seeing Michael Caine and Christopher Reeves as the two playwrights. I won't give any more away ...more
Neil Schleifer
A finely written mystery-thriller play, with lots of neat twists. I place this in the top four of the genre -- SLEUTH being #1; with DEATHTRAP, WAIT UNTIL DARK and DIAL M FOR MURDER battling it out for #2.

A mystery author with writer's block decides to see if he can get away with murder in real life. Add to the mix a psychic who lives next door who seems to know what is about to happen before it happens, and there's just enough comedy to keep the suspense in balance. A good read -- and if you ha
I loved this. The comedy, the suspense, the surprise. It was great. Even the final scene.
There's a reason why this ran forever. It's a scream in both the amusing and the scary senses.
Jaime Contreras
Ira Levin can create a whole world with his words. In this comedy-thriller, he does that so well that one can interact with the characters. The main characters of Sidney, Myra and Clifford are three of the five characters in the play. They live and breathe this wonderful play. Read this and then see it if it is ever performed in your neighborhood.
Sep 12, 2013 Craig rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: plays
I'm sure the ending is meant to be funny, but it came across as stupid (is my response generational/ not-of-the-time-in-which-the-play-was-written?). I think the racial pantomime of the European psychic is annoying as well, an anachronism of racist days gone by. The rest of the play, however, is very good.
This play has potential, but I have seen it twice and never have enjoyed it. I have not watched the movie, but I think it would require a stunning cast and superb acting and stunts in order to be successful. Otherwise, it's not my style.
I read this play over the past couple of days because a local theater is producing it in the spring, and I'm on the board of trustees. I thought I should at least familiarize myself with the work.
Brian Sammons
If you like twisty-turny (turny is not a real word, I know, but i like it) murder mysteries then you'll love this. And I'm not usually one to read plays. It was also made into a pretty fun film.
Aug 27, 2014 Nick rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nick by: Film Crit Hulk
I'm not quite sure what I just read, but it was at least entertaining. I'll bet if I were a drama student I'd appreciate this more.
While I have always found the end a bit silly, I always enjoy revisiting what has to be one of the top five stage thrillers of all time.
I love Ira Levin, and especially his plays. A little over the top, but I think it would be really fun to see staged.
Jennifer Hughes
A very tight, well-crafted, clever play. Love the play-within-a-play concept. Really brilliant. Fun to read!
Does a good job with the play-within-a-play concept, and manages to be surprisingly funny for a thriller.
I liked this but it was a little predictable. I wish I had seen it live before reading the play.
Sasha Kaye
Mar 08, 2008 Sasha Kaye rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Sasha by: Richie Call
I was cast as Myra Bruhl at Old Lyric Rep for this summer!
A smart thriller full of twists and turns.
Read with Portland Playreaders
Great stage thriller.
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Levin graduated from the Horace Mann School and New York University, where he majored in philosophy and English.

After college, he wrote training films and scripts for television.

Levin's first produced play was No Time for Sergeants (adapted from Mac Hyman's novel), a comedy about a hillbilly drafted into the United States Air Force that launched the career of Andy Griffith. The play was turned int
More about Ira Levin...
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