Laugh and Think at Clifton’s Small Engine Repair
Posted On July 7, 2017
Review by Liz Eichler of Small Engine Repair: Clifton Players
Small Engine Repair is an engaging story, well presented in Clifton Player’s signature immersive space, that spurs enough laughs and discussion on the way home, that you will be glad you got your tickets.
This combination of “Breaking Bad” and “Always Sunny in Philadelphia” is an R rated romp through a blue collar meets white collar world, when middle age men encounter a smarmy frat boy (Rupert Spraul). Swaino (Carter Bratton), Frank (Nathan Neorr), and Packie (Charlie Roetting) are friends since childhood, and have each other’s backs. No matter what. Frank gathers them to tests this “no matter what” theory.
The story is strong, and while set in Boston, it could be parts of Philly, Cincy, Bal’more—any place where people grow up in an area so close together that they’ve seen each other’s dirty laundry, literally and figuratively, yet rely on each other every day, breeding a fierce loyalty. You’ve seen the worst, so you accept everyone, warts and all–unless they are different, and violate the connotative rules of the group, or generation. Enter the internet, where for good or bad, private exchanges can go viral, beyond your immediate circle, and that unspoken decent responsibility to each other is replaced by the blind drive to amass a large quantity of connections, without thought of quality or humanity.
The setting is an amazing recreation of a small engine repair shop, by Jared D. Doren, and, as always, every inch of the Clifton space is used. The details of Frank’s dirty nails impressed me and the pre-show music energized the audience, so much that they should sell the “mix-tape.”
Director Jared D. Doren sweeps the story along so swiftly and deftly you’ll be sad to see it end (but that is when you and your friends will begin a hearty discussion, I guarantee). The actors are a great ensemble and present it well, with raw physicality, albeit with uneven Boston accents.
Clifton Players’ SMALL ENGINE REPAIR plays at 404 Ludlow Avenue until April 15. For tickets go (quickly) to https://cpt.cincyregister.com/smallenginerepair or call 513.813.SHOW (7469).