The Pitchfork Disney, Trap Door Theatre. The imagery and imagination in Philip Ridley’s script are intriguing, but in the hands of the Trap Door ensemble his work becomes truly enthralling. This 100-minute play takes us by the throat and doesn’t let go until we too have felt the fear haunting Ridley’s characters.

As the play begins we meet 28-year-old twins Presley and Haley, who inhabit a decaying home with boarded-up windows and littered with candy wrappers and shopping bags (attentively designed by Michael Pieper). Expertly played by Eric Johnson and Shannon O’Neill, these traumatized adults seem trapped in their childlike mannerisms. They gape in wonder, hurl accusations, gobble chocolate, and prod each other to share nightmares and stories of childhood distress. Clad in pajamas, the duo exudes enthusiasm and unease, as if they were making the most of an eternal sleepover where they pick at each other’s emotional scabs.

Into this feverish scenario come Cosmo Disney (Michael Gilio), a cocky young sideshow performer who listens to Presley’s stories while Haley lies in a drug-induced sleep, and his sidekick Pitchfork (Tom Meier), a frightening-looking catatonic. Learning more about the twins from Cosmo’s questioning, the audience becomes ever more apprehensive, anticipating the evil that must await the characters. The play’s terror-inducing language and Presley and Haley’s emotional apocalypse are tightly rendered by director Dado and the ensemble. Their ferocious portrayal of Ridley’s dark, eerie script is riveting.

–Jenn Goddu