SOMEONE WHO'LL WATCH OVER ME by Frank McGuinness, directed by D. Charles Roy, with David Ingram, Teige Reid and Jeff Gruich. Presented by Talking Camel Productions and Sklar Peppler Showcase at the Poor Alex Theatre (296 Brunswick). Runs to March 10, Thursday-Saturday 8 pm. $15, stu/srs $12. 416-678-6075. Rating: NNN Rating: NNNNN
an englishman, an irishman and an American meet in a dark room and spend the time.
Sounds like the set-up for a joke, but it's no laughing matter for the trio of characters, kidnapped by unknown assailants and chained in a Beirut cellar. Frank McGuinness's Someone Who'll Watch Over Me traces the shared experience of the captives: a journalist (Teige Reid), a doctor (David Ingram) and a widowed academic (Jeff Gruich).
The script sometimes fails to fill in enough about the characters and has its moments of tedium, though it's arguable that dullness is a part of lengthy imprisonment. Crucially, actors and director D. Charles Roy capture a camaraderie that sustains the characters through the ups and downs of tedium-breaking exercise, fantasies of home and recurring bouts of sadness.
The production -- in Chauncey Birch's eerily effective design of cracked plaster walls, broken pillars and exposed pipes -- generates admirable energy, both in moments of boisterousness and of quiet tenderness.
Ingram's American reveals little beneath the surface, but Reid's Irishman and Gruich's timid Englishman play nicely with their characters' emotional swings. Gruich, the most skilled performer, colours in little details that make the initially stuffy and distant Englishman the most realized of the three captives.*