Chris Quigley's maturation as an actor can be measured by his changing roles on the venerable "Deathtrap" mystery/comedy.

As a twentysomething actor in the 1980s, Quigley played the role of Clifford, the young muse whose play is stolen by Sidney, an older, accomplished writer.

More than two decades later, Quigley has grown into the role of Sidney. The actor, and "Deathtrap," return to York Little Theatre Friday for a two-week run of shows.

"I just had to revisit this play," Quigley said. "I love the play so much. ... It fits me personally as far as the types of things I play. The character is very sarcastic."

A 1978 play by Ira Levin, "Deathtrap" has many plot twists and is actually at times a play within a play. It is in two acts with one set and five characters.

Made into a 1982 movie starring Christopher Reeve, "Deathtrap" holds the record for the longest running comedy-thriller on Broadway. It was also nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play in 1978.

"We're actually writing about the play we've just acted," Quigley said, describing the plot. "The play still stands on its own even after all these years. ... There are some really terrifying parts to the play and hopefully people will jump out of their seats, but it's also very funny."

The plot involves a series of double crosses, beginning with Sidney killing Clifford in the opening scene. But all is not what it seems, however.

"It's definitely a black comedy," Quigley said. "There's these murders that take place, but there's also these funny lines that have to come across."

A psychic, Helga ten Dorp, enters in scene three and proceeds to introduce doubt that wrecks several schemes. Quigley calls ten Dorp "my favorite character."

A member of York Little Theatre since 1976, Quigley, 46, performed numerous shows there in years past. He has been away from the YLT stage since performing "Dracula" nine years ago.

"The theater had a little bit of a bad spell where financially it wasn't doing too well and artistically it wasn't doing too well," Quigley said. "We're getting back up on our feet again. It's nice. I had several people from different aspects of the theater welcome me back and that was nice."

The five-person cast includes Matthew McLaughlin as Clifford, Marisa Hoover as Myra, Chris Koslosky as Helga, and Wayne Mundis as Porter.

Quigley said the play is suitable for all ages.

"It has some mature content to it, but I think teenagers could handle it," he added.

- JOHN HILTON,
FlipSide staff

If you go

WHAT: 'Deathtrap'

WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday; 7:30 p.m., Jan. 17, 18 and 19; 3 p.m., Jan. 20

WHERE: York Little Theatre, 27 S. Belmont St., Spring Garden Township

COST: $23 for adults, $21 for seniors (62 and older), $18 for students (13 and older) and $10 for children (12 and younger)

DETAILS: Visit www.ylt.org