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Alliance Rep’s Thrilling Chilling “Vandal”
by Sherri Rase      |   follow us...

   
photo by Howard Fischer
Beth Painter & Will Callahan
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Beginning Alliance Repertory Theatre’s 2016-2017 season is Hamish Linklater’s “The Vandal.” You know Hamish Linklater–he was the goofy brother in “The New Adventures of Old Christine.” His work is charming, chilling, and the perfect aperitif for a season of delicious treats from Michael Driscoll. Driscoll has the most amazing taste in plays and this Lovecraftian gem points you one way, while leading you in another–classic misdirection. The tangy twist at the end will give you Autumnal thoughts for some time to come.
Place: Kingston, New York. Time: Some time–some cold time – after dark. A Woman (Beth Painter) waits for the bus, while a Boy (Will Callahan) chats her up. Charming, and just *this* side of creepy, the Boy is everything a woman would wish a boy on the edge of manhood to be–quick witted, lithe, and handsome in that way that we see the man he will become. The Boy is flirtatious, intelligent and has the Woman on her toes throughout an interesting conversation. Then, the Question–will she go buy him beer? The fun begins right there.
Each of the characters in this play is on a quest. When the Woman walks up the hill to the liquor store, a Man (David Christopher) waits on her. He engages her in conversation and a wee bit of cat-and-mouse ensues when the Man reveals that the Woman is part of a classic gambit. Betsy True’s direction reveals the grain of each character, and these actors are a true ensemble that show their splinters and bumpety bulgety foibles, yet manage to remember the humanity in the other person. The final scenes, one of which takes place in a cemetery, are numbingly real and surreal at the same time, and your trip down the offbeat of avenues is rewarded in a spiraling cul de sac whose final moments may well have you in tears, as they did me.
Make plans with friends, who enjoy the chiaroscuro of life as it’s truly lived, during a time when the veil between worlds is thin. Visit www.alliancerep.org to see what the buzz is all about. “The Vandal” runs through October 15 at MONDO, 426 Springfield Avenue, in Summit New Jersey.


 

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