By Russ Bickerstaff, Shepherd Express
Caryl Churchill’s one-hour stage drama A Number is about more than just cloning. From a somewhat cold bunker of a home, James Farrell plays a multi-layered man named Salter. On the surface of things, he’s just trying to be a good father.
By Mike Fischer, Special to the Journal Sentinel
Along with Tom Stoppard, Caryl Churchill could stake a claim as Britain’s greatest living playwright, but her work — elliptically postmodern, provocatively political and very dark — is hardly ever performed here.
Closing out its second season, Splinter Group continues its pattern of staging such pieces with its production of Churchill’s “A Number,” a two-actor play that’s ostensibly about cloning but really about a theme that runs through much of Churchill’s work: lousy parenting and neglected kids. It opened over the weekend under Jake Brockmann’s direction.
The bad parent here is named Salter. As soon as we see James Farrell’s impersonation, we know there’s something off about this squirrely character, whose every move is as careful as his punctiliously correct slacks-and-shirt combo — studiously casual wear, for a brittle man who is too stiff and unsure to ever truly express what’s best and most genuine about how he feels.
By Dave Begel, OnMilwaukee.com
In just 60 minutes, the Splinter Group manages to weave a story of such perplexing complexity that frequently you will wonder what the heck is going on and what is this all about. But at the end, you are just as likely to sit back, look inside yourself and say, “Yeah. That’s what it was about.”