REVIEW by Willard Manus

The prolific Scottish playwright David Grieg has taken August Strindberg's 1889 drama CREDITORS and turned it into a mordant and modern-feeling psychological thriller. As directed by David Trainer and acted with Swiss watch-like precision by Burt Grinstead, Heather Anne Prete and Jack Stehlin, CREDITORS deals with the battle between evil and innocence in the lounge of a Swedish seaside hotel (superb set by Thomas A. Walsh).

The battle doesn't reveal its true nature at first, beginning as it does with a desultory conversation between Adolf (Grinstead), a naive and crippled young artist, and Gustav (Stehlin), a saturnine college professor. Slowly, it becomes clear that Gustav's intent is to manipulate Adolf's feelings, especially where love is concerned. In an Iago-like way he begins to turn Adolf against his wife, Tekla--make him doubt her faithfulness and devotion.

We meet Tekla in the next scene, in which it is revealed that she and Gustav were once married, and that she dumped him for Adolf. Still seething with jealousy and resentment, Gustav has come to even the score between them, exact his revenge, in a cynical and heartless way.

This kind of domestic dance of death is Strindberg's specialty, ofcourse. It isn't easy to watch CREDITORS, but it's impossible to deny its hypnotic and stunning power.

(Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd. through Dec. 15,2013. Call 310-477-2055 ext. 2 or visit