Ruth Covington (Dee Pelletier), has been charged with determining the sanity of the intelligent, charming Haigh (Bradford Cover). The 100-minute performance (no intermission) is set in a barren room at a London prison, a cat-and-mouse exchange between two intriguing individuals. At first the interrogator seems very buttoned-up, focused on drawing out her subject. She digs for details of Haigh’s disturbing childhood with strict parents who were adherents to an ultraconservative religious sect; he describes his father as a “child of Satan” and his mother as a “child of God,” polarities that twisted his sensitive psyche. As their verbal sparring continues, Haigh gets under his questioner’s skin and we learn more about her. She might be as twisted as he. Or maybe it’s a ploy to gain his confidence. Manipulation goes both ways in their seesaw battle of wills.
Pelletier and Cover have mastered their characters, and the set (by Scott J. Kimmins, imported from Dayton’s Loft Theatre) works on the Carnegie’s shallow stage. There’s creepy lighting (John Rensel) and eerie sound (Nathan D. Dean) that build the mood. Nevertheless, from the get-go it’s evident that Haigh is as nutty as they come, so there aren’t many profound revelations, mostly just shocking details of his crimes. The intensity of their encounter begins at a high pitch and doesn’t really build. Despite that, I suspect many people will be on the edge of their seats witnessing this hair-raising story.
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