Turn Of The Screw: Review by LA Times

Pacific Resident Theatre presents
The Turn of the Screw
Los Angeles Times Theatre Beat – February 3, 2006

‘Turn of the Screw’ gets stripped down
February 3, 2006

Subtle frissons accompany “The Turn of the Screw” at Pacific Resident Theatre. Under director Robert Bailey’s evocative guidance, actors Tracie Lockwood and Matthew Elkins give spine to this barebones adaptation of Henry James’ ambiguous classic.

A favorite since 1898, when it materialized in Collier’s Weekly magazine, “Turn of the Screw” has inspired numerous stage and screen versions. This take by playwright Jeffrey Hatcher strips James’ ambivalent tale of a repressed governess who battles two possibly imaginary ghosts for the soul of her charges down to its literary essentials.

Hatcher’s conceit refuses scenery or sound effects, relying instead on two actors and James’ narrative to spark our imaginations, and that’s how Bailey stages it (with ripe assistance from lighting designer Michael Redfield). As the governess, Lockwood, whose inner contradictions are aptly detectable yet never clearly identifiable, has the right mix of nuance and neuroses.

Elkin meets her beat for ambivalent beat as the story-framing guardian,
twittering housekeeper, looming spectral presence and, especially, 10-yearold
Miles (Flora, his tongue-tied sister, is mimetically referred to by both).
Modest yet stylish, impressive and often downright creepy, “Turn of the
Screw” is a show you’d best not see alone, lest the ride home prove too
unnerving for safety.

— David C. Nichols

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