Harry Clarke ★★★★ Ambassadors Theatre | Mar 9 - May 11, 2024


Living in the Midwest, Philip Brugglestein is an abused child who finds refuge in an alter ego called Harry Clarke. Harry is English, confident and daring. All the things Philip is not. When the adult Philip/Harry moves to New York and begins to explore his "authentic" life, the complications begin. David Cale's play is about the power and almost predictive nature of identity, innate or assumed. The recipe for Harry's story seems to be a good measure of Patricia Highsmith's novel, The Talented Mr. Ripley, a dollop of John Guare's play, Six Degrees of Separation and a dash of Pasolini's film, Teorema. The result is definitely an entertaining excursion into the world of Harry Clarke, but we've met the character of the manipulative interloper before. The show is really an opportunity for Billy Crudup to display his considerable acting chops, and he does a superb job as he plays all nineteen characters in the piece. He manages to individuate each of them while also not allowing his tour de force performance to overwhelm Cale's story. With no props and a minimalist set, Crudup engages the audience's imagination to create Harry's world and to populate his tale. It is no small feat, and even if some of the characters are not as strong as others, it all works to provide a thoroughly engrossing evening.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Carol Rosegg

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