Theatre Review

Church is brilliant as quirky 'Thom Pain'

By DON FOWLER
Posted 1/23/19

Theatre Review By DON FOWLER Burbage Theatre's artistic director, Jeff Church, takes center stage as Thom Pain, Will Eno's one-man, one-act, free-flowing, absurd play about a man searching for meaning in his life. Thom runs rampant for 70 minutes,

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Theatre Review

Church is brilliant as quirky 'Thom Pain'

Posted

Burbage Theatre’s artistic director, Jeff Church, takes center stage as Thom Pain, Will Eno’s one-man, one-act, free-flowing, absurd play about a man searching for meaning in his life.

Thom runs rampant for 70 minutes, telling stories of a young boy digressing with moments that interrupt his train of thought and are passed on to an unsuspecting audience. Will Enos’ writing is sharp, crisp and rapid, requiring perfect timing and connection with the actor’s audience.

Jeff Church delivers brilliantly, captivating his audience without intimidating them. The accomplished actor will approach an unsuspecting person and ask him or her a question, but then do an about face without requiring an answer

Thom has obviously suffered through much self-doubt and disappointment in his life. He asks burning questions, knowing that neither he nor the audience can answer them.

“When did your childhood end?” he asks a man in the front row, turning away while trying to figure out when his ended.

The play opens and closes in the dark, emphasizing the futility of life.

There a many clever and funny lines.

“‘You’ve changed,’ she said the night we met,” he says in recalling his ambivalent love affair. The opening line in the monologue grabs your attention. I’ll let you be surprised by it.

Director Vince Petronio said that he had fun working with his old friend and fellow URI professor, working on the precise timing and the free flow of ideas that spew forward like a runaway train.

Be advised that there are a few vulgarities and adult themes and one moment near the end when you may jump.

“Thom Pain” is not your everyday type of theatre. It will entertain. It will make you think. And it will stick with you for a long time.

At Burbage Theatre, 249 Roosevelt Ave. in Pawtucket, through February 24, alternating with Kenneth Lonergan’s “This is Our Youth.” Check dates at www.burbagetheatre.org.

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