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A CurtainUp Review
When Is a Clock
When Gordon's wife Bronwyn disappears, his only clue is an old book with a cryptic bookmark that she'd been reading. Since the inept local police seem convinced he's murdered her, he sets out to search for her, tracking her down to a strange little forgotten town in Pennsylvania. The local bookstore owner is, to say the least, interesting and it seems that Bronwyn has managed to get herself tangled up in something both supernatural and poignant. I hope I don't give away the ending by pointing out a clock is involved.
The story would have an Alice in Wonderland quality to it if it weren't so earnest. That's okay since insightfulness and sharp characterizations keep it from floating away into fantasyland. Kyle Ancowitz's direction, however, denies the play its cynical heart, instead emphasizing its humor. He also keeps the characters on their feet for the most part, as if keeping them moving would generate some action. Actually this isn't a passive play and doesn't really lack for movement. Most of the scenes are short and most of the main characters, especially Gordon, speak directly to the audience. With the emphasis on character rather than plot development it bears repeating that the play could be a half-hour shorter without losing any of its punch.
Gordon is described as "not particularly hearty, and not particularly harmless," and to that end Tom Staggs portrays a slightly schlubb-y, slightly creepy, and completely ineffectual middle-aged man thrown into turmoil by his wife's disappearance to perfection. He dseems more confused and inconvenienced than upset by that disappearance. This makes a nice counterpoint to Tracey Gilbert's angry and impatient Bronwyn—who wouldn't be angry and impatient, married to a guy like that? Her decision to embrace her alternate reality at the end of the play could only have made sense with that sort of depiction. The rest of the cast is serviceable if not particularly exciting—with the possible exception of Beau Allulli's Alex, Gordon and Bronwyn's churlish and lazy (and very funny) teenage son.
A video projection adds some needed positioning and atmosphere to the minimal lighting and set design by Daniel Meeker and Robert Monaco. While this production isn't entirely successful, I did enjoy many moments and I'm looking forward to this play's next incarnation.
Try onlineseats.com for great seats to
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Leonard Maltin's 2008 Movie Guide