REVIEWS BYTheatre ReviewsTom Williams

The Turn of the Screw

By Jeffrey Hatcher from turn of the screw at first folio theatre

the story by Henry James

Directed by Alison C. Vesely

At First Folio Theatre

Chilling psychological thriller honors Henry James’ tale

Jeffrey Hatcher and director Alison C. Vesely have increased the dramatic tension of James’ horror story, The Turn of the Screw, by casting two actors to play all the roles in the story. Add the intelligent lighting by Michael McNamara and the atmospheric sound design by Christopher Kriz and First Folio Theatre’s riveting horror thriller leave audiences on the edge of their seats throughout the 90 minute one act.

turn of the screw at first folio theatre

Nick Sandy plays The Man, an old women housekeeper and a young boy, among others while Melanie Keller plays the governess as the horror genre works to create the necessary tension to scare us. The psychological mystery is both vague and frightening.

turn of the screw at first folio theatre

A young woman is hired to care for two recently orphaned children in a lovely secluded English manner in 1872. As the story unfolds, we learn that the little girl is mute and the boy, Miles, is a misfit. As time goes by, the woman begins to see the specters or ghosts of the former governess and her lover. Are these ghosts in her mind or are they appearing to haunt the children?  The governess attempts to stop the fiends from taking the children away. the underlying question is: are the sightings real or only in the woman’s mind?

See this show to form a conclusion. Nick Sandys is terrific as he moves swiftly from boy to old lady to male adult and back again. He adds animal sounds to the mix. Melanie Keller’s strong performance anchors the show as we see her emotional and psychological decline slip into psychosis. Sandys and Keller’s spirited performances contain the proper blend of drama and ambiguity to give the show an eerie edge that will leave you debating exactly what happened to the woman and the children. This one-act will keep you guessing and totally involved.


Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Jeff Recommended

For more info checkout The Turn of the Screw page at

At the Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83, Oakbrook, IL, call 630-986-8067,, tickets $26 – $37, Wednesdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, running time is 90 minutes without intermission, through April 29, 2012


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