Sunday, October 29, 2017

Harry Clarke

Harry Clarke
Vineyard Theater
October 28, 2017
Photo courtesy of Vineyard Theatre
Billy Crudup is starring in a one character play at Vineyard Theatre.  Written by David Cale, Harry Clarke is a psychological exploration of one man’s quest for acceptance and struggle with identity.  Director Leigh Silverman finds the significant moments of this ninety minute piece that allow the audience to laugh with the main character, empathize with his flaws, and feel shocked by his bold, threatening behavior.

Philip Brugglestein (played by Billy Crudup) was born in Evanston, IL and grew up in South Bend, IN.  He discovers at an early age that he is more comfortable with himself when speaking in a British accent.  After an abusive outburst by his father during his adolescence, an alter-ego emerges.  Harry Clarke is a bold Cockney who is not afraid to take risks and speak his mind.  A number of years later, while living in New York City, Harry Clarke re-emerges during a low period in Philip’s life.  This time he makes a deal with Philip.  Harry wants Philip to give over to him 100% for a three month trial period.  Philip agrees and embarks on the journey of no return.

Billy Crudup, Director Leigh Silverman, and Playwright David Cale
Photos courtesy of Vineyard Theatre
Billy Crudup is magnificent in this role.  He embodies numerous characters as he tells this alarming story.  The accent and vocal rhythm of each character is so distinct that you recognize them immediately.  The characters of Philip Brugglestein and Harry Clarke also have a distinguishing physicalization that visibly identifies them.  Mr. Crudup’s transitions are smooth and clear.  He is absorbing and engaging.  It is an enthralling performance.

Playwright David Cale has written an intriguing character.  He skillfully structures the telling of this story with unexpected reveals that hook the audience’s attention and peak their curiosity. 

Harry Clarke is playing at Vineyard Theatre through December 10.  If you are a Billy Crudup fan, you will love this show.  If you are not, you will definitely become one after seeing it.  

Domenick Danza

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