Sleuth (play)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Written by Anthony Shaffer
Date premiered 9 November 1970
Place premiered Music Box Theatre
Original language English
Genre Mystery, Thriller
Setting A manor house in Wiltshire, England

Sleuth is a 1970 play written by Anthony Shaffer. The play is set in the Wiltshire manor house of Andrew Wyke, an immensely successful mystery writer. Wyke's home reflects his obsession with the inventions and deceptions of fiction and his fascination with games and game-playing. He lures his wife's lover, Milo Tindle, to the house and convinces him to stage a robbery of her jewellery, a proposal that sets off a chain of events that leaves the audience trying to decipher where Wyke's imagination ends and reality begins.

Shaffer said the play was partially inspired by one of his friends, composer Stephen Sondheim, whose intense interest in game-playing is mirrored by the character of Wyke.

The play's first production, starring Anthony Quayle and Keith Baxter, was at London's St Martin's Theatre.

After four previews, the Broadway production, with Quayle and Baxter directed by Clifford Williams, opened on 9 November 1970 at the Music Box Theatre, where it ran for 1,222 performances. When Anthony Quayle left the production in 1972, Patrick Macnee replaced him in the role of Wyke.[1]

Film adaptations[edit]

In 1972, Shaffer adapted his play for film, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, starring Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine. Another film adaptation was released in 2007 with a screenplay by Harold Pinter. The 2007 film was directed by Kenneth Branagh, starring Michael Caine and Jude Law as Milo Tindle, originally played by Caine in the 1972 version.

The play was also the basis for the film Tamanna. Whilst some of the interactions between the two men are similar, the film has roles for not just Wyke's wife, but also his second, younger wife, the Tindel character's object of desire, and the outcome for the characters is darker. The milieu is Pakistan's film industry, Lollywood in its dying days, and is used an allegory of wider issues. The dialogue, in Urdu, and the scenario are adapted in numerous ways for both Pakistani and Islamic culture.[citation needed]

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • Tony Award for Best Play
  • Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance - Anthony Quayle and Keith Baxter
  • Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play - Clifford Williams
  • Tony Award for Best Lighting Design - William Ritman


  • T. E. Kalem (23 November 1970). "Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum". Time magazine. Retrieved 2008-06-17. 
  1. ^ , "Sleuth", from the Internet Broadway Database,

External links[edit]