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A CurtainUp Review
One of these encounters is between the mysterious British transplant, Robert Pimm (Mac Brydon) and F.B.I. Agent Staats (Daniel Morgan Shelley), who is investigating an explosion that has just destroyed the headquarters of a major pharmaceutical company. The other, told as a series of flashbacks, is between Pimm and Thomas Blander (Ryan Tramont), an employee at the pharmaceuticals company.
Staat suspects Pimm knows more about the explosion than he is letting on. Pimm wants to make Thomas his friend and disciple. Staat doesnt seem to be making much progress. But Pimm is gradually able to manipulate Thomas until he agrees to to take part in some kind of “mission” at his company.
Thomass initial activities are mostly harmless spying. Then he discovers his companys dangerous and immoral activities. By the middle of the play, the outcome of Thomass mission becomes pretty apparent. But the audience has to wait for the mildly surprising and ironic ending to find out Pimms motivation.
There are two other characters in this play: Jim (Brad Fryman), the bartender who provides comic relief and occasionally makes the tactless slips that help ignite Staats suspicions; and Staats sidekick, Agent Charles (Patrick Hamilton), a character that seems to have no other purpose than to provide work for an actor.
Boal has written punchy dialogue that, with the help of director Terrence OBrien, keeps the play moving quickly. And the actors deliver their lines with enough believability to mask the contrived nature of the plot. Tramont is particularly effective as a weak, unhappy man who is easily exploited. Brydon captures the everyday banality that is often the true face of evil.
Pimms Mission provides just enough tension and mystery to keep the audience interested but not enough character development to make any lasting impact. Staat could be any one of hundreds of F.B.I. agents. Thomas could be any repressed and angry employee with an ex-wife and two children he sees on weekends.
The play does bring up several serious moral questions about the corporate world and how it corrupts and victimizes. But these issues take a back seat to the suspense and surprise which is the real raison d’etre of this drama.
Pimm’s Mission has many of the elements that make it perfect for a 60-minuteepisode in a television series. For some people, that will be quite enough.