Senator Daniels (Charles Daish), delivers just such a coup de theatre immediately before the interval of As We Forgive Them.
As he soliloquises his despair at the death of his daughter, every audience member is left gasping for air in the intensity of the moment.
Taking the liberal Senator at face value, we see a well-intentioned humanitarian who wants to atone for society’s failure to educate and socialise the anarchic, foul mouthed and truculent Lee.
As the plot unfold swe find he has rather more sinister objectives. Charles Daish, looking like a cross between Spencer Tracey and Robert Vaughan, underplays the Senator to perfection.
Marc Pickering is the murderer Lee Fenton. He has no gratitude at being rescued from Death Row, but gradually unveils a native cunning that exposes the Senator’s hypocrisy.
This is another beautifully-judged production from director Andrew Pearson.
What must have been last-minute insertions of references to Donald Trump’s triumph were cleverly integrated. Richard Vergette’s two-hander is ideal for a small auditorium.
Relying, as it does, on a claustrophobic set and a pervading sense of menace, the audience feel close to the action.
We can only admire the enterprise of East Riding Theatre in bringing such uncompromising theatre to East Yorkshire.
It runs at the East Riding Theatre, Beverley, until Saturday November 28, daily at 8pm.
Tickets: 01482 874050.