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Theater Review: 'Veronica’s Room' is a creepy place

Nicholas Toscani, Summer Nolan, Todd Clark, and Theresa Santiago-Adams in “Veronica’s Room” at The Paramount Theatre. [Photo by George Adams]
Nicholas Toscani, Summer Nolan, Todd Clark, and Theresa Santiago-Adams in “Veronica’s Room” at The Paramount Theatre. [Photo by George Adams]

The disturbing psychological thriller “Veronica’s Room,” directed by George Adams, takes the audience on a demented road trip without ever leaving the room. Be warned: This is not a play for children.

Ira Levin first produced this play in 1973, which is a critical year to at least one of the characters. This tends to give the play a slightly dated feel, which some might find comforting as the spinning story line takes us through a spiraling view of time and reality.

The play opens in a mansion outside of Boston, in a chamber filled with furniture covered in dust sheets. The Man and the Woman, elderly caretakers of the house and its lone occupant, have brought the Girl and the Young Man there because the Girl bears a striking resemblance to Veronica, the surviving family member’s long dead sister. There is some hope that the likeness will allow that elderly person, now living in their guilt-wracked images of the past, to find some peace. Entering into such a potentially risky deception can only lead to trouble—as the Young Man points out—and of course it does, taking us through the subjective time and viewpoint shifts of extreme mental illness. Who among the people in the room is actually deranged is an open question for quite some time.

As the Woman, Theresa Santiago-Adams gives a delightful—or demented—performance, determined by the shifting perspectives of the story. She layers one persona on another with a deft touch, giving the audience a character who is either sympathetic or dangerous, depending on where the point of view takes us.

Todd Clark plays the Man with varying levels of empathy, disdain, and intimidation. Clark’s solid acting skills go a long way toward selling the reality of each step in the distorted Escher-style drawing that seems to guide the story. 

Nicholas Toscani gives an effective performance as the Young Man. There are surprising layers to this character, who first offers reasonable critique and, in the end, perhaps the most seriously troubling action of any in the play.

Summer Nolan as the Girl both drives the story and surfs on its roller-coaster waves—until an inevitable crash. Nolan is utterly believable as the innocent and thoughtful person we meet at the beginning, although the story does not leave her there. Each shift is another tortured step, and she takes us along for the emotionally uncomfortable ride.

The Paramount, a small black box theatre just north of Sheridan on Lee, has grown from its beginnings as a platform in a room. Adams and his crew have given us a unit set with entrances and exits and have made good use of the minimalist lighting. 

“Veronica’s Room” plays at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday through Aug. 19 at The Paramount Theatre, 11 N Lee on Film Row in Oklahoma City. For tickets, call 405-637-9389. For more information, visit

Anna Holloway

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