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BWW Review: HARRY CLARKE at Barrington Stage Company Takes Audiences On A Slide Down A Slippery Slope.

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First produced in 2017 HARRY CLARKE is a modest production with only one actor, limited staging, no scenery or costume changes, and only a few support technicians.

BWW Review: HARRY CLARKE at Barrington Stage Company Takes Audiences On A Slide Down A Slippery Slope.
Mark H. Dold
Photos: Daniel Rader

First produced in 2017 HARRY CLARKE is a modest production with only one actor, limited staging, no scenery or costume changes, and only a few support technicians. As the saying goes: looks can be deceiving. Mounting this modest production during the worldwide pandemic amidst the myriad safety concerns was no small or simple feat. Neither is this deep, thought provoking, and powerful production. Billed as a sexually charged and wickedly funny thriller, this is the story of a shy midwestern man leading an outrageous double life as a cocky Londoner and could be categorized as a Memory Play.

BWW Review: HARRY CLARKE at Barrington Stage Company Takes Audiences On A Slide Down A Slippery Slope.

It all starts quite innocently, in the mind of an eight-year-old. In response to a lack luster, and possibly abusive childhood in Midwestern America, Philip Brugglestein pretends. He shares with a friend: "I could be myself, if I had an English accent". He develops the character of Harry Clarke to go along with the voice and commits to the role which is tolerated by his mother and annoying to his father, both of whom pass before he reaches the age of 18. More-or-less free to be who and how he wants to be, Philip moves to NYC, along with the assumed accent, to do just that. If idle hands are indeed the devil's tools, in this case, the workshop is located in a mid-town Manhattan studio apartment. Mischief ensues about a dozen years later when Philip decides to have a bit of fun. His Harry persona returns, and the slide commences as a rather tightly tangled web is woven.

David Cale's script is strong, solid, and well-paced with no noticeable gaps or lulls. It is clear there is much trust and a strong working relationship between Director, Julieann Boyd and BSC Associate Artist, Mark H. Dold who appears to be in full BWW Review: HARRY CLARKE at Barrington Stage Company Takes Audiences On A Slide Down A Slippery Slope.control and command of the stage. Dold's performance over the eighty-minute one act is impressive. He remains focused despite passing traffic, flying bugs, noisy neighbors, and sirens. Dold demonstrates mastery of an overwhelming amount of dialogue and the nuance necessary to present a total of some 19 characters. Dold navigates the thin line between perception and reality so adeptly, the line blurs and we find ourselves questioning whether the character is cold, calculated and knows exactly what he is doing; or has become lost in his own deception.

If you have ever wondered or perhaps joked about what would happen if the voices in your head started speaking to one another, HARRY CLARKE, might offer a glimpse. Faced with an overwhelming number of lemons, Barrington Stage Company has whipped up a cool refreshing pitcher of Lemon drop martinis and is serving them up (figuratively) at the Tartell Family Outdoor Stage through August 16. Visit: https://barringtonstageco.org for tickets and information.


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From This Author Marc Savitt