If you still need someone to tell you to check out Martin Dockery’s work, you probably haven’t been paying attention. Let me help you out here: just go. In Inescapable, Martin Dockery and Jon Paterson star in a two-hander about a moment that never ends. Sadly, it does end for the audience, though it seems pretty clear the characters will be there for a while yet (the moment will be repeated eight more times this week; don’t miss it!).

The “plot” of this play is simple, and set up with alarming foreshadowing from the pre-show music: a few repeating bars of a popular Christmas carol set the stage perfectly for a high-stakes conversational tug-o-war between two old friends at, but slightly apart from, an annual holiday party.

Both Dockery and Paterson give riveting performances in their (re)enactments of the climactic moment of their friendship. At first I asked myself simply “how long can they talk around this issue?” and “why did he go into the closet?”, but these questions give way to more profound wonderings about the nature of and motivations behind human relationships, and their breaking points.

The script is sinuous and natural in its cyclical pattern, flowing in waves of tension that rise and fall with each variant of the power struggle played out before us. The actors rise to the challenge of performing constantly similar scenes in a unique manner, making each into a fresh contest of wills, as the profound discomfort of their characters rises, and the audience gains a larger glimpse of the inescapable elephant in the room (or the closet).

I could talk about what I think the script is doing (who can tell for sure?), and the nature of the reality it depicts, but I’d rather talk with you about it at the Fringe bar once you see it for yourself.


Wes Babcock

 

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