Off Broadway Theater Review: BOTALLACK O’CLOCK (Brits Off Broadway at 59E59 Theaters)

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by Dmitry Zvonkov on May 26, 2013

in Theater-New York

A CURE FOR INSOMNIA

Dan Frost’s evocative performance as the artist Roger Hilton isn’t enough to save Botallack O’Clock, written and directed by Eddie Elks and currently being performed as part of the Brits Off Broadway festival, from being an excruciatingly Dmitry Zvonkov's Stage and Cinema review of BOTALLACK O'CLOCK, Brits Off Broadway, 59E59 Theaters.boring and drama-free 70 minutes. According to legend Hilton hardly left his bed during the last two years of his life, continuing to paint from it on sheets of paper laid out on the floor – a little downstairs room in his cottage in Botallack, England, serving as his bedroom, studio, and living space. In Mr. Elks’ creation we find Hilton in his room one 3am when the artist cannot sleep. Besides his whiskey, cigarettes and art supplies, Hilton’s only companions as he recalls his past and discusses art are a finicky old radio that talks back (Rhys King), and what looks like a gigantic black possum with human hands and fingernails painted bright red that emerges from the wardrobe.

Dmitry Zvonkov's Stage and Cinema review of BOTALLACK O'CLOCK, Brits Off Broadway, 59E59 Theaters.Mr. Elks’ surreal inventions, lit superbly by Max Spielbichler on a wonderfully textured set – one can practically smell the stale cigarettes and the musty, alcoholic sweat – are clever and serve the show well in suggesting a certain desperate, fevered insomniac state. And Mr. Elks’ direction of his subjects feels mostly spot on. Unfortunately, in writing Botallack O’Clock, he seems to have completely forgotten that a dramatic work needs things like conflict and stakes to work. Without them his play feels like a preachy, sentimental essay full of hackneyed insights and pedestrian ruminations on art and the artist’s struggle.

Dmitry Zvonkov's Stage and Cinema review of BOTALLACK O'CLOCK, Brits Off Broadway, 59E59 Theaters.

photos by Carol Rosegg

Botallack O’Clock
Third Man Theatre for Brits Off Broadway
59E59 Theaters
scheduled to end on June 9, 2013
for tickets, visit (212) 279-4200 or visit http://www.59e59.org

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