Reviewed by on    Ottawa Fringe 2014  

There’s a possible corpse in Martin Dockery’s absurdist play, Paco V Put To Sleep, along with an ice cream salesman in a state of existential torment, and a pair of parents whose inexplicable emergence in son Dick’s shabby apartment suggests they’re in flight from something unspeakable.

No one’s really connecting here — starting with the feckless Dick and the zombie-like Paco who are first encountered staring at an empty TV screen because they’re incapable of dealing with the problem of a busted remote. That’s not their only problem. They’re out of food, and there are hints their electricity is about to be cut off. Their conversation goes beyond the random and the pointless and the surreal. Even shared cliches of speech, and there are many of those here, become an ineffectual glue to communication. That’s also true of the other characters who eventually show up, talking over each other and past each other, while continuing to occupy their own malfunctioning limbos.

There’s Pinter here and Ionesco and Beckett, a smidgeon of N.F. Simpson, even — for anyone who knows A Delicate Balance — a significant touch of Albee. Director Dave Dawson, working with a responsive cast, creates a fine fusion of sound and silence, managing the play’s elusive rhythms and atmospherics with skill and understanding.

It’s a quirky but rewarding hour of theatre — but why oh why can’t the Fringe and Black Sheep Productions supply playgoers with a proper cast list? It’s a recurring problem with the Fringe and an annoying one.

A Black Sheep Theatre productions

Directed by Dave Dawson

Arts Court Theatre