"Sleuth" is a gripping and suspenseful play by Anthony Shaffer that revolves around the intense psychological battle between two men, Andrew Wyke, a successful crime novelist, and Milo Tindle, a young man having an affair with Wyke's wife. Set in Wyke's eccentric English country house, the story unfolds as the two men engage in a series of mind games and manipulations, each attempting to outwit the other. As the plot twists and turns, the lines between reality and fiction blur, leading to a shocking and unexpected climax. "Sleuth" explores themes of deception, betrayal, and the power dynamics of relationships, keeping audiences on the edge of their seats until the very end.

This two hander is performed by Todd Boyce as Andrew Wyke, and Neil McDermott as Milo Tindle. The pair never stop, with fast paced dialogue and movement around the stage.  Thanks to Director Rachel Kavanaugh, this show is full on and keeps you gripped throughout.  There is no dip in pace at all and there is plenty for you to focus on with the detail provided in Wyke’s house (Julie Godfrey – Designer), with wood panelling, large fireplace, vast windows and even a near life size laughing sailor puppet (Spur Creative) which comes to life on a few occasions throwing in some humour to the proceedings.

Boyce and McDermott, both clearly very experienced performers, command the stage and bring this story to life, which is one of upmanship and mind games.  The vast amount of dialogue they both share never feels forced and flows extremely well throughout.  It is hard to discuss the story without offering up any spoilers, and it would be unfair of me to go into too much detail, as the twists and turns are peppered throughout to great dramatic effect.  The writing by Anthony Shaffer really is very clever.

One thing I will mention, and even appeared on posters outside the main auditorium is the trigger warning of a clown being featured.  I must admit that this was the first time I had seen such a warning, but I guess clowns can frighten some people.  Designer Pat Farmer provided a vibrant clown costume, with a mask that may make some of those not too keen on clowns, look away.  There is also one very loud bang, which surprisingly wasn’t mentioned on the same poster, so for those of a nervous disposition, this happens in the first half of the show.

Now, for those of us who love to read through the programme, you may notice a few things surrounding the show and its cast.  I thought this was a really fantastic way to incorporate themes of the story into the literature for the production, and for those who really love a riddle or a puzzle, there is more fun to uncover.  Thankfully, I was able to speak to Neil McDermott after the show who uncovered these wonderful additions, which you can take away with you after the show has ended.  

Overall, “Sleuth” was the ultimate game of one upmanship, with plenty of twists and turns for those who love a mystery.

This show was reviewed on the 8th April 2024 at Malvern Festival Theatre where it runs until the 13th April 2024.  Tickets available here: Sleuth - Malvern Theatres (

Full tour details can be found here: Sleuth - Bill Kenwright Limited

Review written by Emma Rowley


Photo credit: Jack Merriman

You can watch our interview with Neil McDermott here:

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