REVIEW: The Fastest Clock in the Universe

Robyn Bellinger and Sayana Turpin-Aviram think ‘disturbingly funny’ sums up this refreshing production.

ADC Cambridge Theatre Comedy Corpus Playroom Drama fastest clock in the universe Theatre

The Fastest Clock in the Universe  took a refreshingly postmodern look at our obsession with youth culture, stemming originally from the famous Calvin Klein campaign – the “tighty whities” of which featured prominently in the show.

Seth Kruger seemed comfortable as narcissistic Cougar, contrasting his acting nicely with the twitchy oddball that was Captain (Ryan Monk). I think the fact that these two actors managed to hold our attention on their own with a relatively bare set is definitely noteworthy.

Their dialogue built up tension for the much more explosive second half of the play where Foxtrot (Adam Mirsky) and Sherbet (Beth Dubow) added action to the plot and nervous energy to the acting. Alexandra Wetheral as Cheetah Bee provided a thought provoking visitor to the scene and pulled off the decrepit old lady act surprisingly well for a young actress.

Seth Kruger as Cougar Glass is the life of the party

Had I not been informed of the last minute change of actress for the character of Sherbert, I would not have guessed that Beth Dubow was filling in for Katurah Morrish. Apart from appearing slightly less natural than the rest of the cast, Dubow handled her part convincingly and engagingly- she actively embodied the juxtaposing character suggested by the name ‘Sherbert Gravel’.

Her high pitched giggling fully reflected the sweet, “sherbet” aspect of her personality, whereas the evil, inhuman way that she constantly leaned into Cougar whilst speaking about age ( a sore subject, to say the least) reflects the hard, “gravel” aspect of her personality. The ability to portray such a huge contrast in character, despite being a “fill-in” actress, proved to the audience that Dubow is a true professional. Her ability to master such a complicated role in such little time is truly a complement to her.

Beth Dubow smashed it, with not much time to spare

The composite staging was first-class. The use of many bird statues (Captain’s “babies”) reinforced the idea that we were meant to be seeing a “cracked egg” (which, for the record, are the Captain’s words and not Cougar’s). The backdrop for this performance was a shabby living room.

I’m guessing the sofa losing an armrest during the birthday party scene was not intended, but it gave the crowd a few extra giggles. Some of the sound effects could have come in more naturally, but, on the other hand, the light blackout was well timed. Most of the time the impression of being an uninvited guest watching an unusually twisted living room drama was prevalent and reasonably consistent.

Beth Dubow as Sherbert Gravel and Ryan Monk as Captain Tock

All in all, the piece was very aptly performed by all of the actors- everyone seemed to be fully aware of their characters and no meaning from the original script was lost in performance. Admittedly a few members of the audience were left slightly confused, but that was presumably the playwright Ridley’s intention, because the practitioners were true to the text.

The ability to carry out a play of such high emotion with such ease is a credit to the actors – they should be proud themselves.