FRINGE REVIEW – The Inventor and The Escort

*****

By Mark Bolsover

During the most severe blizzard in New York’s history, a shy, awkward inventor seeks the company of a beautiful, sensitive escort to play out a fantasy which will redeem his past romantic failures… In The Inventor and The Escort, Kings and Desperate Men Productions deliver two clever character studies, with sharp and genuinely moving performances by the two leads.

From the outset, navigating the garish and, frankly, rather too busy set, Jaret Sacrey delivers a touching and quite subtle performance as the reserved and sensitive inventor. Jessica Moreno, as the escort, does well to move from an affected business-like attitude to vulnerable emotional exposure.

The humour here relies on the somewhat strange and startling effect of the dry, everyday, business-like tone in which the characters discuss sex acts in intimate detail. At times, the dialogue is a little staccato and flat and the character’s back stories feel a little by-the-numbers, but both leads do well to transition from the tense, stilted awkward nerves of a first meeting to genuine warm chemistry and personal revelation and it is from this that this staging of ‘The Inventor’ ultimately draws its strength.

The device of a play within a play (of sorts) here ultimately pays off, and ‘The Inventor’ manages to avoid to avid being swallowed by the deliberate, staged oddness that its conceit could lead it into. Sacrey and Moreno achieve genuinely touching and effective performances and denouement to the show.

The Inventor and The Escort, Gilded Balloon Teviot, 5-25 August, 12.00 (1hr15)

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