Claire Calnan and Christian Goutsis ensure a good time.
THE CLOCKMAKER by Stephen Massicotte (Tarragon, 30 Bridgman). To October 24. See Listing. Rating: NNNN
The Tarragon launches its 40th season with Stephen Massicotte's The Clockmaker, a philosophical musing on memory, time and love. The show weaves together four different characters for a complex and captivating 95 minutes.
Herr Heinrich Mann (Christian Goutsis) is an eccentric clockmaker, a lonely man who befriends Frieda (Claire Calnan) when she brings him a clock to repair. Their relationship intensifies as Frieda struggles with her deeply troubled marriage to the abusive Adolphus (Kevin Bundy) and Heinrich contends with Monsieur Pierre (Damien Atkins), a mysterious inquisitor who believes the clockmaker has committed a crime.
The play is part thriller, part romance with absurdist overtones, and the script upends linear time. The overlapping stories seem confusing at first, but once Frieda convinces Heinrich to share his artistic handiwork in a revealing and pivotal moment, both their relationship and the play move steadily toward the dramatic end.
While all four actors deliver strong performances, Goutsis and Calnan create the most poignant and fascinating characters. Although both Heinrich and Frieda endure much bullying, the performers avoid self-pity and constantly work to reveal the characters' strengths.
Director Bob White does an excellent job of balancing the broad and subtle details. But it's humour cleverly delivered through a sound effect, quirky prop or deftly delivered line that makes this play stand out.