ADAPTED, directed, and designed by Jon Pope from the prose piece by

Dostoevsky this Citizens' Theatre Company play hammers home the message

''just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get


While civil servant Jacob Golyadkin (Brendan Hooper) is clearly acting

in a bizarre fashion -- driving round town in a crested carriage and

hiding in a dirty broom cupboard before gatecrashing a high-society

party -- it is also undeniable that those around him are behaving oddly


When a doppelganger appears on the scene Jacob's colleagues and his

servant Petrushka act as if this is nothing untoward, their nonchalance

exacerbating Jacob's anxieties. So, is Jacob unhinged, is he the victim

of a conspiracy, or is he imagining the whole business?

Dostoevsky's ambiguity is accentuated in Pope's production, where

Beatrice Comins and Michelle Gomez, visitors in the night, are

supercilious narrators whose appearance constantly fluctuates; from

period corseted gowns to futuristic silver trenchcoats, changing into

sober dresscoats at a point when Jacob's sanity is most in doubt.

Pope has fun dropping little hints that challenge the status quo but

the symbolism is irritatingly over-emphatic, with Comins and Gomez

distractedly playing out voodoo rituals while in character as Jacob's

doctor or boss.

Quirky touches like the doppleganger (Eric MacLennan) presenting Jacob

with a musical card which plays La Bamba and imitating the National

Lottery pointing finger are amusing but dreadfully pointless and Pope's

tongue-in-cheek approach tips the play into a wilful obscurantism which,

while visually engaging, is -- until a final, successfully chilling

moment -- vapid.