×

The Fastest Clock in the Universe

Despite a long and talky first act, "The Fastest Clock in the Universe" eventually reveals a viciously dark comic edge, culminating in a decidedly ominous birthday party. In the wake of Jez Butterworth's "Mojo" and Mike Leigh's "Goose Pimples," British playwright Philip Ridley has devised another blend of ghoulish humor and zany characterizations.

With:
Captain Tock ..... David Cale Cougar Glass ..... Bray Poor Cheetah Bee ..... Jeanette Landis Foxtrot Darling ..... Joey Kern Sherbet Gravel ..... Ella Mae McNulty

Despite a long and talky first act, “The Fastest Clock in the Universe” eventually reveals a viciously dark comic edge, culminating in a decidedly ominous birthday party. In the wake of Jez Butterworth’s “Mojo” and Mike Leigh’s “Goose Pimples,” British playwright Philip Ridley has devised another blend of ghoulish humor and zany characterizations.

Cougar Glass (David Cale) is the muscular roommate and, apparently, occasional lover of Captain Tock (David Gale), a prissy proprietor of an antique shop. (Don’t dare to address it as a junk shop.) Cougar, who harbors a fear of clocks and is obsessed with his fading youth, is celebrating his 19th birthday. (Don’t dare mention that he is really turning 30.)

Captain Tock, who waits on Cougar hand and foot, also has a few weird tics. A precious collection of stuffed crows, blackbirds and miniature winged statuary line the walls of his grimy East London flat. With an obvious nod to the avian fantasies of Poe and Hitchcock, the Captain flaps his arms with wild abandon when a flock of birds swoops into the adjacent alley.

The party guests include Sherbet Gravel (Ella Mae McNulty), an impressionable and chatty pregnant girl, and her well-scrubbed boyfriend, Foxtrot Darling (Joey Kern).

From the moment the predatory Cougar is handed a lethal-looking kitchen knife to cut his birthday cake, a bloodbath appears inevitable. And despite the tiresome bitchery of the first act, the comedy eventually sets a relentless course toward butchery.

The broadly cartooned characters are acted with an infectious silliness. Cale’s swishy party host, Kern’s hapless innocent and Poor’s brooding and malevolent birthday boy score effectively. Jeanette Landis has a funny moment as a boozy and cronish landlady, and McNulty flaps her sparkly eyelids with a winsome innocence.

Director Jo Bonney has grasped the behavioral absurdities of Ridley’s characters and set them against the always menacing tone and temper of the play. An atmospheric asset is the dingy set, with its looming birds and a shadowy light design.

The Fastest Clock in the Universe

(COMEDY; INTAR THEATER; 93 SEATS; $ 15 TOP)

Production: NEW YORK A New Group, in association with Judy Gordon, presentation of a play in two acts by Philip Ridley. Directed by Jo Bonney.

Crew: Set, Zaniz Jakubowski; costumes, Kaye Voyce; lighting, James L. Vermeulen; sound, Tim Schellenbaum; stage manager, Marina Bridges. New Group artistic director, Scott Elliott. Opened May 7, 1998. Reviewed May 15. Running time: 2 HOURS.

With: Captain Tock ..... David Cale Cougar Glass ..... Bray Poor Cheetah Bee ..... Jeanette Landis Foxtrot Darling ..... Joey Kern Sherbet Gravel ..... Ella Mae McNulty

More Film

  • MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r)

    Submissions Now Welcome for Third 'Meet the Press' Film Festival

    Chuck Todd’s quest to bring “Meet the Press” to the movies continues. The third annual Meet the Press Film Festival, held in collaboration with the American Film Institute, will take place on October 6 and 7 in Washington, D.C., and remains a haven for issue-focused documentary shorts. Todd believes the event serves a critical mission: [...]

  • Challenges Still Keep Content From Traveling

    Cannes: Challenges Still Keep Content From Traveling to and From China

    Challenges still remain when it comes to buying, distributing and producing content that can travel between China and the West, attendees of a panel organized by the Shanghai Intl. Film Festival on the sidelines of Cannes said. Cai Gongming, president of Road Pictures, has hit box office gold in China with Cannes art-house titles such [...]

  • 180423_A24_Day_03B_0897.jpg

    Cannes Film Review: Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe in 'The Lighthouse'

    “The Lighthouse,” the second feature directed by Robert Eggers (“The Witch”), is a gripping and turbulent drama that draws on a number of influences, though it merges them into its own fluky gothic historical ominoso art-thriller thing. Set in the 1890s, and suffused with foghorns and epic gusts of wind, as well as a powerfully [...]

  • Cannes: Diao Yinan Explains His Artistic

    Diao Yinan on Cannes Pic 'Wild Goose Lake': 'I Try to Portray the Opposite of a Utopia'

    In competition in Cannes with “Wild Goose Lake,” director Diao Yinan explained Sunday why he’s fascinated by dark crime thrillers – and why his new film features dialogue in China’s Wuhan dialect. “Such thrillers are not only an exercise in style; they’re also full of dramatic tension, and when you combine style with dramatic tension, [...]

  • CAP D'ANTIBES, FRANCE - MAY 18:

    Cannes: Robert Pattinson, Shailene Woodley Attend Starry Vanity Fair Party

    It’s true what they say about Batman being a loner. On Saturday night, Robert Pattinson made his first public appearance since being cast as the new Dark Knight at this year’s Vanity Fair Party at the Cannes Film Festival. But while all the other A-list guests mingled and worked the crowd at the restaurant of [...]

  • 180423_A24_Day_03B_0897.jpg

    Robert Pattinson: 'The Lighthouse' Rehearsal Was a 'Pressure Cooker'

    Rehearsal for director Robert Eggers’ “The Lighthouse” wasn’t as long as Robert Pattinson remembers. “I’ve never rehearsed like I rehearsed with Robert before,” Pattinson said at the first screening of the period thriller on Sunday morning. “We rehearsed for what, three weeks?” Actually, no — it was only one week! “One, but it felt like [...]

  • FilmSharks Scores Global Sales, Remake Rights

    FilmSharks Scores Intl. Sales-Remake Rights for Fernando Spiner’s ‘Immortal’

    Guido Rud’s Buenos Aires-based FilmSharks International has acquired global sales and remake rights to renowned Latin American genre director Fernando Spiner’s latest feature “Immortal,” which participated in this year’s Blood Window Showcase at the Cannes Film Market. Included in the deal, FilmSharks also picked up Spiner’s sci-fi catalog which includes “Sleepwalker” and “Adiós querida luna.” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content