DANGEROUS OBSESSION is one of the British theatre’s most successful psycho thrillers of recent history and one of the highest quality. The play takes place on a sunny afternoon in the Home Counties. Sally Driscoll is watering her plants in the conservatory of her luxurious home. Suddenly John Barrett appears at the door. Sally does not recognize John, but it seems that the Driscolls and the Baretts have met before. After Sally’s husband, Mark, arrives it becomes apparent that John Barrett is “dangerously obsessed” with pinning the blame for a fatal car accident on someone. John secretly locks the Driscolls and himself in the conservatory and pulls out a gun. He then forces Mark and Sally to admit unpleasant and conflicting facets of their lives. The results are shattering.
N. J. Crisp’s psycho-thriller is both timely and universal. One of the characters resorts to the use of a gun to advance what, in his opinion, is justice. Another character finds it difficult to accept the responsibility for his actions. Unlike the classic detective story as written by Agatha Christie, DANGEROUS OBSESSION is a psycho-thriller in which the people are as important as the plot. Instead of treating characters in a superficial way, the figures in DANGEROUS OBSESSION become three-dimensional people whose human emotions are examined. The question is not only “Who did it?” but “Why did he do it?”, “How does he feel about it?” and “What are the human results of his actions?” The psychological development of the characters involved is what is important.
Part of the reason psycho-thrillers are so popular is perhaps because there is a conflict in our own natures between crime and the law. Surely we all sometimes feel the need to break those very laws we know we must have. Crime stories show us something of our own dark side. It is a great medium for a playwright as well because, by putting a person in a crisis and seeing what happens, much of that person’s character comes to light. Good crime writing nowadays not only tells an exciting story, but also says something about the world and society. In DANGEROUS OBSESSION John Barrett says, “All of us must accept responsibility for the consequences of our own actions.” N. J. Crisp’s play lets us feel the emotional shock that this moral precept can have on human lives.
“The author teases us with menacing details . . . Powerfully applies the tricks of suspense.” THE TIMES
“Increasingly exciting.” SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
|Adam Lilley and Gabrielle Douglas|
Photo by Stefan Kock
|Adam Lilley, Tom Rooke and Gabrielle Douglas|
Photo by Stefan Kock
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