- The Frustrations of Stoker Pratt
Reviewed by Miranda Hall
Stoker Pratt double-dog dares you to try and out-prank him. Ignite the tool shed. Scribble mustaches in art history books. Steal a pirate hat from the history department. You cannot win – he’s done it all.
Moral structure dissolves when two lackadaisical philosophy professors trade attentive parenting for their own pursuits of cookies and limericks. Stoker Pratt’s world is Hammurabi’s nightmare; his rebellions compel no consequence, intervention, or even acknowledgement from his parents. Stoker is not pleased.
As he explains in an early vein-throbbing, fist-flinging rant, he resents his parents’ disinterest because it denies his life meaning. If his actions have little effect on people, then he might as well not exist. Tormented by the injustice of his purposefully uncensored life, he confides in his best friend, the sensible Pauline, who wastes no time in alerting him to his flaws and in helping him stir things up at the biggest philosophy department party of the year.
The script floats. Playwright and sound designer Liam Daley presents a clear, nuanced narrative with precision and panache. Characters’ objectives escalate with ease and their demeanors complement each other beautifully. His insults are especially delectable. Stoker’s gem, ” you loopy, progressive, cloth-eared twits!” and a well placed “it’s a limerick, you philistine!” delight the audience and rile the actors.
The troupe enlivens the piece with grace and purpose. Phillip Doccolo’s bright-eyed, high-kneed Stoker solicits empathy with ease and integrity, even though the Pratt parents, played by Kevin Brotzman and Vangie Rich, project a whimsical levity that is impossible to distain. Rachel Loose as the sensible best friend delivers with a smart honesty and pluck, and her parents, Tess Pohlhaus and Mikey Meagher, play an unyielding mother and timid father with a direct sincerity.
Candid, casual, and armed with zip, The Frustrations of Stoker Pratt sends its audience from the Mead Theatre Lab with a lively benediction for this year’s Fringe.
Running time: 75 minutes
- Tickets: The Frustrations of Stocker Pratt
- Remaining Show: Sat, July 26 at 3:30
- Where: Flashpoint, 916 G Street, NW