A new production of The Bad Seed by the Street Theatre Company in Nashville seems to be causing quite a stir in a positive way. The extraordinary tale of little Rhoda Penmark, a sweetly-smiling ingratiating eight-year-old sociopath who will stop at nothing in order to get exactly what she wants - including murder - is one that will be familiar to all of us who are parents.
Lucy Turner as Rhoda - can a child be born evil?
This particular production is apparently beautifully designed and entirely appropriate for the 1950's Savannah, Georgia southern belle setting for this masterpiece of incisive child psychology, which was originally a book, before becoming a play and then a movie. It's suggested in reviews that the use of sound effects are particularly impressive and likely to send even the most prepared of audience members leaping from their seats in surprise and more than a little horror. Lucy Turner plays the pivotal role of Rhoda.
Patty McCormack in the movie version
The 1956 movie version by Mervyn LeRoy starred Patty McCormack as Rhoda and Nancy Kelly as her mother - and was pretty shocking for its time. Well worth a visit. There was also a 1985 TV movie with Blair Brown and Carrie Wells as the daughter.