Thriller by Anthony Shaffer. A young man arrives at the impressive home of a famous mystery writer, only to be unwittingly drawn into a tangled web of intrigue and gamesmanship. Nothing is quite what it seems... this intriguing study of human conflict, jealousy and manipulation proves to be far more than a whodunit and promises to baffle even the most proficient sleuth!
Apart from the two main characters - 'Andrew Wyke' and 'Milo Tindle' - the play also includes the characters of 'Inspector Doppler', 'Detective Sergeant Tarrant', and 'Police Constable Higgs'.
The play's Premiere took place on Monday 12 January 1970 at the Royal Theatre in Brighton, which was followed by a short regional tour, following which it Premiered in London's West End on Thursday 12 February 1970 where it enjoyed a hugely sucessful run of five-and-a-half years. Arguably the world's greatest ever stage thriller, Sleuth was made into a film in 1972, starring Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine, and was being screened at cinemas in London's West End during the original stage run!
1970: West End Premiere
Opened 12 February 1970, Closed Saturday 3 March 1973 at the St Martin's Theatre
Transferred Tuesday 6 March 1973, Closed Saturday 6 October 1973 at Garrick Theatre
Transferred Tuesday 9 October 1973, Closed Saturday 25 October 1975 at the Fortune Theatre
The original cast, up to Saturday 12 September 1970, featured Anthony Quayle as 'Andrew Wyke', and Keith Baxter as 'Milo Tindle'.
Directed by Clifford Williams, redirected by Raymond Westwell (from 6 March 1973), with designs by Carl Toms, and lighting by Francis Reid.
The role of 'Andrew Wyke' was played by Anthony Quayle from February 1970 to September 1970; Paul Rogers from September 1970 to July 1971; Marius Goring from August 1971 to February 1973; Michael Allinson from March 1973 to September 1973; and Raymond Westwell from October 1973 to October 1975.
The role of 'Milo Tindle' was played by Keith Baxter from February to September 1970; Donal Donnelly from September 1970 to July 1971; John Fraser from August 1971 to July 1972; Anthony Valentine from August 1972 to February 1973; Del Henney from March 1973 to December 1974; Christopher Reich from January 1974 to June 1974; Gary Waldhorn from July 1974 to June 1975; and David Bradley from July 1975 to October 1975.
Prior to London's West End this production embarked on a four-week regional tour: Brighton Theatre Royal, from Monday 12 to Saturday 17 January 1970; Wilmslow Rex Theatre, from Monday 19 to Saturday 24 January 1970; Eastbourne Congress Theatre, from Monday 26 to Saturday 31 January 1970; and Stratford-Upon-Avon Royal Shakespeare Theatre, from Monday 2 to Saturday 7 February 1970 - with the original cast of Anthony Quayle and Keith Baxter.
1978: 1st West End London Revival
Previewed 4 March 1978, Opened 7 March 1978, Closed 6 May 1978 at the Savoy Theatre
Transferred 9 May 1978, Closed 14 October 1978 at the Ambassadors Theatre
The original cast featured Patrick Cargill as 'Andrew Wyke', and Tony Anholt as 'Milo Tindle' (from Saturday 4 March 1978 to Saturday 16 September 1978).
The second cast featured Peter Cartwright as 'Andrew Wyke', and Tony Anholt as 'Milo Tindle' (from Monday 18 September 1978 to Saturday 14 October 1978).
Directed by Hugh Goldie, with designs by John Page, and lighting by Neil Goodwill.
Prior to London's West End this production was staged at the Windsor Theatre Royal - opened on 7 February 1978, and closed on 25 February 1978 - with the same original cast of Patrick Cargill and Tony Anholt.
2002: 2nd West End London Revival
Previewed 2 July 2002, Opened 10 July 2002, Closed 8 February 2003 at the Apollo Theatre
A major revival of Anthony Shaffer's thriller Sleuth in London directed by Elijah Moshinsky
The original cast featured Peter Bowles as 'Andrew Wyke', and Gray O'Brien as 'Milo Tindle' (from Tuesday 2 July 2002 to Saturday 30 November 2002).
The second cast featured Ian Ogilvy as 'Andrew Wyke', and Jonathan Kerrigan as 'Milo Tindle' (from Monday 2 December 2002 to Saturday 8 February 2003).
Directed by Elijah Moshinsky with designs by Paul Farnsworth, lighting by Nick Richings, and sound by Simon Whitehorn.
Elijah Moshinsky's West End credits include Matador the Musical with Stefanie Powers at the Queen's Theatre in 1991.
"It's the why and the how and the way in which it parodies thriller conventions, rather than the whodunnit element, that makes this such a technically brilliant, riveting piece of work. This is a work about shifting power-play, deceiving the opponent. Just as you congratulate yourself for seeing through one of the player's schemes, another unexpected twist alters the balance and it becomes harder and harder to see whether this will ultimately prove to be a game of cat and mouse or tortoise and hare. The great hall in Wyke's mansion is a triumph of Gothic minimalist chic - and it's also well planted with red herrings as Elijah Moshinsky's production keeps you guessing." The Mail on Sunday
"Thirty years on, Anthony Shaffer's celebrated spoof-thriller is still in sound working order. The twists still beguile, the ripe absurdities still amuse. A famous detective writer, Andrew Wyke, lures Milo Tindle, the upstart who is sleeping with his wife, into his Wiltshire manor. Bluff leads on to double, triple, quadruple bluff; you laugh, but you are equally keen to learn how it all works out... The new production finds Peter Bowles on top form as Wyke, smooth and charming one moment, sadistic and edgy the next. By comparison Gray O'Brien's Tindle is rather stiff, but he sounds the chippy note effectively and proves a dab hand at disguise." The Sunday Telegraph
"Elijah Moshinsky's operatic production and Paul Farnsworth's white-on-white design makeover combine to bring this 30-year-old commercial contrivance up to date. Anthony Shaffer wrote a thriller that ironised the art of thriller-writing, and now that such plays are out of fashion, the subtext is easier to see. Peter Bowles is craggily impressive as the ageing writer holed up in his gothic Wiltshire mansion... The handsome Gray O'Brien arrives to throw down the sexual challenge of youth...The pair engage in an entertainingly theatrical game of double bluff with homoerotic overtones. By convention, it would be wrong to give the result away, but the truth is that, noble or ignoble, you end up with absolutely nothing there." The Sunday Times
Sleuth in London at the Apollo Theatre previewed from 2 July 2002, opened on 10 July 2002, and closed on 8 February 2003