Vancouver Fringe 2019: Inescapable

Inescapable (with Jon Paterson and Martin Dockery) is skilfully performed — but technical.

In a clever detail, the preshow music is an endless loop of “White Christmas”.

The characters are in an loop of their own. One of them (played by Jon Paterson) has dragged a little homemade device out of a closet in his friend’s house. That pal is played by playwright Martin Dockery.

But what the heck was Paterson doing in Dockery’s closet in the first place? And does that little gizmo have anything to do with the fact that their conversation seems to be on a kind of Möbius strip, an apparently inescapable series of repetitions?

The Möbius thing is an excellent metaphor for middle age, that time of life when you’ve established your relationships and patterns and you’re sick of them, but you’re in such a deep groove that it seems impossible to get out.

There are variations in the repetitions: Paterson comes up with different reasons for being in Dockery’s closet, for instance. The actors’ mastery of those variations combine with their rapid-fire delivery to create a kind of virtuosity.

And these guys are funny: the way Dockery twists his limbs into a knot in frustrated outrage; the flickers of evasion and dawning recognition that emanate from both of them.

Inescapable becomes a bit of a technical exercise, however. No affection is ever credibly established between the two men, so, as they argue, there isn’t much to lose. And a third character who becomes central has about as much emotional resonance as a symbol in an algebraic equation. 

At the Waterfront Theatre. Remaining performances on September 7 (1:00 p.m.), 8 (4:35 p.m.), 10 (7:00 p.m.), 13 (7:30 p.m.), and 15 (5:45 p.m.)



About Colin Thomas

Colin Thomas is a Vancouver-based editor, an award-winning playwright, and an established theatre critic. Colin helps writers unlock the full potential of their novels, short stories, screenplays, and children's books.

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