The Vandal

  • Our critic's rating:
    January 1, 2013

    This is an extraordinary evening of theatre. This is a beautifully crafted piece that takes you on a journey and brings you to a place you had NOT planned on going. A total pleasure!

    There is a certainty in numbers, and three has always been one of those bedrock certainties: three legs to a tripod; three wheels to a tricycle; three points to make a plane. The elements can move about, but as long as they stay connected there is a whole universe tucked inside. The three people here, once they connect, never let go – and I mean never.

    A Woman (Deidre O’Connell) is waiting for a bus. It is dusk on a winter’s day, and the town in Kingston. Not noted for its public transportation. Noah Robbins (Boy) a young man in his 20’s appears to share the stop with her. This kid is loquacious in the extreme, the kind of person who will seize upon a subject like a heat seeking missile and wax eloquent. For starters he points out the clever juxtaposition of the hospital across the street and the graveyard where his friend is buried in back of them. Thank you City Planner for keeping joy in its place – directly opposite death. Eventually his chatter thaws O’Connell who agrees to go buy him some beer at the liquor store (located between the hospital and the graveyard). Here she meets pulls the proprietor (Zach Grenier) and what should have been a simple transaction turns into an inquisition with both people giving as good as they get.

    No one is who we think they are in this play, and the unravelling of their stories takes a few twists and turns but never drops you cold. Everyone here has experienced death and been left forever changed. It is melancholy and haunting, but there is also a fierce determination to hang on and continue standing in the face of gale force winds. People come together by accident and the world shifts its axis.

    Linklater’s writing is direct, and Simpson lets the actors sit in the words without fuss or embellishment. He trusts their skill and we are all rewarded.

    This is a play whose inconsistencies, and there are a few holes in the plot line, fade in the light of this triumvirate. It is a story of three people who connect one night with a sort of electrical current. There is great specificity in which these people are under the bluster. In the specificity and detail is the thread that connects them to each other and us to them.

    They are us. When all is said and done, they are us. Linklater doesn’t tell us that is where he is going. He lets us figure that out for ourselves.


    "A modest but amiable comedy-drama."
    Charles Isherwood for New York Times

    "Thanks to first-rate performances and Jim Simpson’s careful, perceptive direction, Linklater’s playwriting promise comes through forcefully. ... It’s well worth your attention."
    Erik Haagensen for Back Stage

    External links to full reviews from popular press...

    New York Times - Back Stage -