The phone won’t stop ringing. The phone won’t stop ringing and Jean would quite like it to be quiet in this cafe where no one else is around. The phone won’t stop ringing, so Jean picks up the phone. Jean picks up the phone, and hangs up the phone, and goes to talk to the man, and the man is dead.
Dead Man’s Cell Phone is a lightly surrealist work from American playwright Sarah Ruhl. Director Sophia Chetin-Leuner finds the most in the script when she pushes the work deep into the surrealism and embraces the farce. There she finds humour and some rich roles, particularly for her female supporting cast members.
Jordana Belaiche as Gordon’s mother gives us an accent and character as hilarious as her blonde wig; Miranda Evans as his widow, Hermia, cries drunk and depressed with her face pushed into a martini glass; Izabela Karamon’s 'other woman' is neatly judging and highly manipulative, with a knack for applying red lipstick.
Despite her choice to pick up the phone and commit to making amends in Gordon’s life, Bel Parker’s Jean is the mostly subtly drawn character and the most realistic performance. This works well as a foil to the broader characters, but less well when Chetin-Launer settles the play too far into complete naturalism and the humour of the work becomes muddled.
The work, however, finds its way more often than it loses it, with Dead Man's Cell Phone given assured production from this young company.