018 Mystery – Old
I wasn’t sure into which category I should put Nightmares by Dave Simpson, as I didn’t have a “thriller” category (and I scarcely listen to thrillers). Nevertheless, the drama made a strong impression on me. It was very well-written and directed and genuinely heart-pounding, especially as the edgy score made use of frantic piano music. Jilly (Gillian Kearney) is a nurse who’s been suffering from nightmares that she’s being stalked by a masked psychopath who approaches her in deserted car parks, in lifts, etc., and cuts her throat. The nightmares are straining her relationship with her husband, Nick (Chris Gascoyne), who is often away at conferences. One of the doctors at work, James (David Harewood), recommends Jilly see a psychiatrist, Ben Carson (Jonathan Keeble), despite the fact that Jilly finds him “weird.” Jilly complies but is a difficult patient. Dr Carson manages to dredge out of her that Nick perpetrated a short affair with someone from his work some years previously, and Dr Carson believes the nightmares are a result of a continuing fear that Nick is not being true to Jilly. Meanwhile, James and Jilly are falling for each other. No one believes Jilly’s fears that she is being stalked, not her friend Penny, nor any of the men in her life. Finally, Jilly is awakened one night by a break-in. The play was particularly effective because the nature of the medium made it impossible to know when Jilly was dreaming or when she was awake, so that her constantly changing nightmares shifted the identity of the stalker each time. Both Harewood and Keeble put in wonderful performances that kept you guessing as to whether they were trustworthy or not. Nightmares was directed by Pauline Harris in 2004.