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Theatre Review: Billy Crudup Transform Into The Thrilling Harry Clarke

Billy Crudup is STELLAR as Harry Clarke at Vineyard Theatre. The actor proves that Hollywood has not done enough to bring his charm and emotional malleability to the forefront. Thus, leave it to the theatre world, to show you the true extent of his talent in a thriller that redefines the genre.

When you think of Thriller, you might think murder-mystery and dark, chilling thrills. Yet, Harry Clarke is thrilling and mysterious, but intimates darkness to be more personal rather than epic. Crudup’s one-man show explores the pain and trauma of a man born into a family that does not understand him only to go and infiltrate a family that does. In essence, Britain’s Harry Clarke is the alter-ego and protective mechanism of Ohio native Philip Brugglestein. Since the age of 4, he spoke with a British accent, but, more importantly during his childhood, his sexuality came to forefront in direct chagrin and disdain to his cold, alcoholic father. If by age 4, you cleary know your father wished you were aborted then you are on a fast-train for emotional issues. Yet, Harry Clarke is how Philip heals himself by bringing out the charisma and boldness he carries even if it also leads to manipulation and promiscuity. Thus, again unlike most thrillers, you cannot really say if Philip Brugglestein/ Harry Clarke is a bad or good guy, which shows the intelligence from which David Cale wrote the script, Leigh Silverman directed, and Billy Crudup unpacked the worth of this protagonist.

In a Thriller, you always know the “villain” an “the hero”, but Harry Clarke thrills as a how because it has none. Crudup smoothly glides into his story and the many characters he crosses with an alarming ease and warmth. For all their flaws, you meet each character and walk away impressed/ even in love with with their journey. Crudup changes his voice and body with a grace that enraptures you for 90 minutes without an intermission. I say this because, usually, people can stay, at most, 20 minutes with interest on a single person/ their soliloquy. Yet, Billy Crudup is a magnet for attention, and transforms the simple blue screen behind him into a vision board for all the people he will meet, love, and, eventually, disappoint. Harry Clarke is the selfish manifestation of a young boy taught not to have desire, which is impossible as human being.  Thus, you understand his coldness and slight malice, but you also admire his love and eagerness to experience it. Frankly Harry Clarke is a MUST-SEE and will be showing at Vineyard Theatre until December 10. Located: 108 E 15th St 108 E 15th St, New York, NY 10003 Click Here To Buy Tickets. 

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