‘Sleuth’ keeps audience guessing until the very end

SEQUIM — Two men, one young and lithe and one older and toting a giant ego, are about to play a deadly game at Olympic Theatre Arts.

They’re Milo Tindle and Andrew Wyke, drivers of “Sleuth,” Anthony Shaffer’s Tony Award-winning murder mystery opening tonight.

OTA’s “Sleuth” stars Colby Thomas as Milo the younger man and Pat Owens as Andrew the British mystery writer. These are two juicy roles, played in the 1972 film version by Michael Caine and Sir Laurence Olivier, and reprised in the 2007 remake with Caine joining Jude Law.

“It’s a show that makes you think,” said Thomas, adding that “Sleuth” turns the murder-mystery genre on its head.

Thomas, who played the emcee in OTA’s “Cabaret,” is relishing the challenge of this latest project. The role of Milo, the man apparently aiming to marry Andrew’s wife, is complex: a character who’s neither all good nor all bad.

Andrew, meanwhile, “is a classic manipulator,” said Owens. “He’s an extreme egomaniac. Everything has to do with him . . . he manipulates people, things, anything he can.”

“Sleuth,” added director Loren Johnson, is a delicious game. It’s two smart and funny hours with two “very accomplished actors.”

The story “is about a man who is totally narcissistic, and who ends up getting himself into a lot of trouble,” he said, adding that the sin of hubris leads to a surprising and highly satisfying conclusion.

And though this play pits a supposedly brilliant writer against a sharp young foe, it’s not an overly cerebral outing, Johnson said. “It’s just fun . . . the language is unique,” he promised.

“It’s an absolute corker,” Johnson quipped, quoting a line from the play.

“There are plot twists, lots of surprises, gunshots and explosions, and crazy costumes.”

“The audience can’t really tell what’s going on till the play is finally over,” added Owens.

“And then they’re just left in awe.”

Curtain times for “Sleuth” are 7:30 p.m. each Friday and Saturday through Oct. 1, and at 2 p.m. each Sunday through Oct. 2.

Tickets are $16.50 for general admission, $14.50 for OTA members and active military service members and $11.50 for youth 16 and younger.

For reservations and information, phone the OTA box office at 360-683-7326 or visit www.OlympicTheatreArts.org.

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