The State vs John Hayes (3 stars)

This article is from 2013

The State vs John Hayes

Two-for-one killer in a death row show

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)

State vs John Hayes

  • 3 stars

Bearded Theatre Company. 'You could have a fantasy here, if you like? Where you're the killer, instead of me.' Huntsville prison, Texas, 1959. Elyese Dukie sits on Death Row, guilty of two murders, but she is not alone… John Hayes is with her, as he has been all along. Psychological thriller based on real life Death Row…