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Theatre Review: Fearless Productions Stages Grisly Yet Compelling Satirical Drama

The Pillowman at Villagers Black Box Takes You to a Fictitious Totalitarian State
Fearless Productions The Pillowman Fearless Productions

FRANKLIN, NJ—After sitting through Fearless Production’s rendering of Martin McDonagh’s Tony award winning The Pillowman, a play festooned with child maiming, child torture, child murder, patricide, matricide and of course fratricide, this reviewer, who hasn’t smoked in twenty years, needed a cigarette.

That need is not a complaint, it’s a compliment.

Having seen both equity and not equity mountings of this work, Fearless deserves high marks for making their production unique without compromising the integrity of the play.

Director Samantha Ambler, took full advantage of Villagers’ Black Box set, an appropriately dark and gloomy atmosphere. This atmosphere was enhanced by Meg Fry’s use of almost monochromatic costumes and properties, and sound designer Brian Remo’s choice of chilling music.

Set in a fictitious totalitarian state, short story writer Katurian, very well played by Eric Hackler, finds himself being interrogated the old fashion way by officers Topolski, wonderfully done by Mathew Gochman, and Ariel, equally well done by Peter Kendell.

After being kicked around it comes to light that several recent child murders seem to be taken from the pages of Katurian’s gruesome short stories.

As the interrogation progresses. Katurian discovers that Michael, his mentally challenged older brother, excellently portrayed by Bobby Marusiefski, is being interrogated in the next room.

With the brothers now alone in the same room, much about their past and the truth about what’s really going is revealed.  And that revelation leads to a tragic event.

Everyone involved in this production did their jobs and did them well. The actors all gave fine performance and crew didn’t miss a cue. The result of was an enviable opening night production.

Though all the actors gave compelling performances, several times one actor's voice did drop a few times and it was difficult to hear him.  Also, some of the dialogue got lost while being shouted and screamed.

The Pillowman is not for the faint at heart. For those of us with a strong theatrical constitution, Fearless Productions well-crafted staging was worth the trip to Somerset.

For information, please visit: www.fearlessprod.com.