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Larry Littany Litt
Written by Martin Dockery
Directed by Vanessa Quesnelle
With Jon Paterson and Martin Dockery
SOHO Playhouse 15 Vandam St. NYC
Reviewed Nov. 20, 2018 by Larry Littany Litt
Two guys come on stage claiming they’re friends taking a short break from a holiday party in the next room. It’s a big house we’re told owned by one of the guys who is half of a successful couple. Except that his wife is cheating on him. Does this sound like a Twilight Zone plot? Somehow it turns into a fugue state of comedy when Abbot and Costello meet Rod Serling for a fling with a time machine. Or is it an unknowable toy accompanied by unintelligible instructions with a dodgy on/off switch that may rule the world? A time machine that rules the world? What else?
And yet, yes yet there’s probability theory involved when the friends try to figure out why they keep repeating themselves with silly conversation in a holiday spirit. It’s possible this is a dementia play where two middle aged men display mild dementia instead of a tragically expensive mid-life crisis. Sure sounds like they’re stoned in the midst of an intense conversation they won’t remember. Except that the time machine is there always there, there.
When your oldest friend is sleeping with your wife and you don’t know it life is good. When you suspect it, life changes. When you have proof in the form of a confession life hits you over the head like a piece of ceiling fascia falling from a skyscraper. You know it can happen but when it does it is dramatic and traumatic. Does that make for a play? For Oscar Wilde it was a comedy. For Strindberg it was hell on earth. For Dockery and Patterson it’s a fly-by glib gambit to prove their relationship never meant anything. Men are so fickle is all it proves to me. Men oh men how do you survive each other?
“Inescapable” is a theater exercise in sharp dialogue and dominant submissive movement. I like that as a form. But as a play I wonder if Dockery is going to develop the characters and plot into something that’s less glib and has more depth. I know he’s capable of it.
A fun night of theater because who isn’t amazed at déjà vu in a play about déjà vu?
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