Rebecca Gilman‘s 2001 play Blue Surge builds from the slightly unlikely premise of two frustrated small town policemen falling for a pair of “massage therapists” after a bungled brothel sting into a dark and gritty examination of the tensions present in American class structure.
Hillier is impressive as a police detective who finds himself closer to the prostitute than the artist girlfriend he intends to marry – he throws away both his domestic and professional lives in a bid to ‘save’ her.
There are strong performances too from the supporting cast: Kelly Burke as prostitute-turned-barmaid and nightmare room mate, Samantha Coughlan as Curt’s comparatively privileged artist girlfriend, and Alexander Guiney as fellow policeman, who really should be a warning to Curt – his preachy reaction to the play’s climax though apparently comes from nowhere.
As the piece draws to a close the tragedy of the individual situations becomes clear. Curt cannot understand how Sandy’s ambitions do not stretch beyond selling her body, but these down-beat lives cannot be escaped from, the oppressive reality is truly depressing.