The State vs John Hayes
Two-for-one killer in a death row show
This article is from 2013.
Either a one-woman show, a one-man show, or possibly a two hander played by one person, The State vs John Hayes is a tricky show to categorise. Billed as a psychological thriller, it’s really a confessional monologue in which a death row killer, facing a grisly end on the electric chair, invites the audience to share in an unexpurgated version of events leading to her arrest.
Directed by Richard Warren for The Bearded Theatre Company, and featuring writer and performer Lucy Roslyn, The State vs John Hayes takes inspiration from a real life murder-case. Elyese Dukie faced the death sentence for two murders, but she believed that part of the responsibility lay with John Hayes, her alter-ego.
As might be expected, The State vs John Hayes is intense stuff, and Roslyn gives a startling performance as the androgynous killer. What weakens the performance is the failure to sufficiently probe the complex psychology of the character; it’s hard to unravel exactly what has transpired without reference to the real-life case, and not always clear what’s going on unless the audience are familiar with the real-life story behind the drama.
C Nova Studio 2, 0845 260 1234, Until 26 Aug (not 12), 9.50pm, £8.50 - £10.50 (£6.50- £7.50)