If it sounds squirm-inducing, it’s really not, because McDonagh is clever, fast and funny enough to pull this morbid material off. And, under the intense direction of Murray Chase, the cast at VLT pulls it off, too. Heideman and O’Dea are especially good in the longish scene that reveals for us their past and ongoing relationship, and Heideman is likewise convincing in scenes with the cops as the alternately scared and defiant writer who ultimately just wants to save his life’s work. Neil Kasanofksy and Ronald Krine Myroup as the cops are fun to watch in a sick sort of way; Kasanofsky’s Tupolski, supposedly the good cop, is actually full of sarcastic detachment, while Myroup, initially a tightly wound sadist, later reveals other sides to his character as well.
Neil Kasanofsky and Jeremy Heideman in The Pillowman.