For a night of theater that will so seriously weird you out that you have to sleep with the lights on, the horror tale The Turn of the Screw, adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher from the Henry James classic, is just what the doctor-of-dread ordered. Presented by Wake Up, Marconi! Theater Company and running until Nov. 17 at the Bank Street Theatre, this is one tale of repression and supernatural ambiguity that will give you psychological creepy crawlies for days.
You know the drill - a naive, impressionable governess starts experiencing hauntings while caring for her two weirdo charges, the pre-pubescent troublemaker Miles and the silent, sullen Flora. Played with both repression and an urge for the improper by the fresh faced Melissa Pinsly, you are never quite sure if this caretaker has a screw loose or if she is as genuinely and purely loving as she professes.
Providing the play's most ominous moments is Steve Cook, who portrays many of the characters with a enigmatic undercurrent of madness. Is Miles manipulated by demons or just a spinning, ADHD suffering hysteric? Is the housekeeper a clueless, caring dimwit or is she suppressing something sinister? The sparse direction by Don K. Williams makes full use of stylized, shadowed presentation, but with wise restraint leaves much of the terrifying plot twists to be imagined by the audience. As we know from many a horror flick, especially the heavily James-influenced The Others and my childhood favorite The Innocents, the scary scenarios in our pretty little heads are far more horrific than anything presented in plain view. But if twisted classic lit is your thing, make sure you catch a glimpse of the sinister goings on in this 'Turn.'