Mag is Beth’s mother but they parted years ago and vowed never to see each other again. It is hard to explain the play’s title without a spoiler alert, but suffice to say neither woman has behaved perfectly, either before their parting or since. Beth is freshly out of prison, where she both enjoyed the book group and enjoyed learning 101 different ways to kill someone.
This is a taut, tightly orchestrated thriller with a theme that reverberates throughout the script as a macabre drum beat. Director Gareth Nicholls brings all the restraint that made Ulster American magnificent to this feisty and occasionally vicious script. Superb sound design (Oğuz Kaplangi) cranks the tension up as the two women confront the questions left unanswered for too long. And Cécile Trémolières’ set, in all its ursine glory, is a thing of fittingly understated beauty.
Christine Entwhistle (Mag) is wholly convincing as the woman who shuffles through life, trying to consign the past to the past. But when faced with temptation, her nature (or nurture) crashes over her like a tidal wave. Charlene Boyd as Beth is ebullient, effervescent, alarmingly unpredictable. But beneath the bravado, we see enough of her broken heart to at least, sort of, understand.
These are two storming performances in a perfectly polished production. At an hour and ten minutes in length, don’t be surprised if it pops up again in the 2020 Fringe. In the meantime, it’s a deliciously spooky way to get your pulse racing this Halloween.