Finished With Engines
Well-written vignette scratches the surface of America's new militarism
This article is from 2008.
There's a tried and trusted theatrical dynamic in the idea of two characters irritating each other in an enclosed space. In Finished With Engines, a kind of Dumb Waiter on the water, this formula is engagingly explored.
Two sailors observe a troubled landscape from the conning tower of a submarine, as its inhabitants endure a grisly political upheaval. Voyeuristic commentaries on the violence before them leads to further speculation on the geopolitics of the crisis, the nature of the institution they belong to and the sailors' own private lives.
Alan McKendrick's production of his script features strong performances from Stephanie Viola and Drew Friedman, formerly of The Riot Group, as a series of sight gags and crisp one liners are dexterously delivered. But the piece feels more like a vignette than a fully fledged examination of the ideological issues it raises, and merely scratches the surface of a bigger conversation about America's new militarism. All the same, there's something quite haunting about the finale, in which the madness of the world view explored here breaks surface.
Traverse Theatre, 228 1404, until 10 Aug, times vary, £14–£16 (£11–£10).