Playwright Tracy Letts pens a riveting conspiracy. Letts’ imagination spins a web of intrigue. Along with the drama, Letts masterfully sprinkles in dark comedy relief. Director Kimberly Senior escalates it with bloody urgency. Senior authentically paces the first act with overlapping dialogue and an awkward, bumbling build-up. In the second act, Senior zaps, swats, and stings for a chaotic frenzy. The impact is compelling and a little gross. There are vivid enactments of being bugged. (The lady next to me murmured ‘I’m going to be sick.’) The insect illusion is aided by set and prop designers; Senior, Jack Magaw and Jenny Pinson. It’s a standard roadside motel room. The ugly art, brightly-lit bathroom, window to the parking lot and weird-functioning air conditioner is impressive in itself. Act 2’s rearrangement is gawk-able. During intermission, every potential extermination element is heaped into the room. The look is so startling that itching occurs immediately.
Leading the bug hunt, Jacqueline Grandt (Agnes) drawls in a casual, hardened manner. Grandt skillfully personifies a woman under the influence. First, drugs and alcohol buzz her into an unaffected state. But then, she falls hard for Andrew Jessop (Peter). Grandt loves with a vulnerable craziness. Grandt’s monologue deconstructing the truth is heart-breaking lunacy. Jessop spooks upon arrival. His wide-eyed presence brings out ‘what is he up to?’ suspicions. Initially, he’s clumsy and oddly sweet. Later, his shocking absurdities are delivered with abrupt ferocity. Jessop prompts continuous ‘oh my God’ reactions. Along with a strong supporting cast, this BUG bites deep, leaving its mark! It’s an unforgettable infestation.