EXTENDED THRU JULY 31st "BUG": Bites Deep, Leaves Mark!

Audio Podcast at ITUNES 
Narrated by Joshua Volkers

Redtwist Theatre presentsIMG_0492.jpg

At 1044 W. Bryn Mawr
Written by Tracy Letts
Directed by Kimberly Senior
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 7:30
Sundays at 3pm
EXTENDED Thru July 31st 
Running Time:  Two hours includes an intermission
Reviewed by Katy Walsh
A woman battles loneliness.  A man fights to be free.  They both want to escape the past.  A crackpipe brings them together.  Two people find love in a flea-bitten motel.  Redtwist Theatre presents BUG.  Agnes’ life sucks!  Her abusive ex has been paroled. Her son has been missing for ten years. Her home is a motel room.  When her waitress pal brings over a vile of coke and a quirky guy, the partying leads to a sleepover.  Peter awkwardly charms Agnes into shacking up.  Their bliss is cut short by domestic disturbances.  Bugs infest the room.  As they frantically try to exterminate the problem, more unwanted creatures arrive!  Their past infiltrates their present. The pests won’t leave them alone. BUG gets under the skin with a spiraling-out-of-control intensity!             

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.  

A Redtwist first timer, Keaton describes it with ‘rustic paranoid tragedy.
Production photos courtesy of Jan Ellen Graves.

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