As Shirley Jones settles down to tell us the story of
Rumplestiltskin, it is almost impossible to imagine this sweet, shy woman as
the inmate of a prison psychiatric ward. Over the next hour, however, her own
story unfolds and we learn about the tragic series of events that led to this
innocent young woman murdering her baby boy.
Shirley’s monologue is her attempt to explain her actions
to the baby that died at her hands. Allie Croker gives a heartrending
performance: as Shirley describes the violent relationship with Davey, her
baby’s odious father, fear ripples across her face and she is returned to that
This is an affecting piece of writing that still has resonance nearly 20 years after it was first produced. Its emotive potential suffers, however, as a result of poor pacing in the play's closing scenes. The monologue builds throughout to the moment when Shirley relives the murder of her child; once this has happened and the catharsis is done with, the play loses its way and drifts somewhat
unsatisfactorily towards its end.