18 February 2023
4.0 out of 5.0 stars
Set in the early 1900 in rural America, The Tinker is loosely based on one of those older true crime cases that just stays with you, somewhere in the recesses of your mind, due it its sheer peculiarity. I suspect the play will similarly have me thinking about it for quite a while.
The first part of the show does feel a bit awkward, as Frank and Evelyn try to settle into the evening with a blizzard raging outside. But their relationship seems fraught, their conversation cold and detached. But as a stranger knocks on the door asking for help, the situation becomes more interesting.
The Tinker, an itinerant handyman, asks to stay in their barn with his horses while the snow storm rages on, and is invited to warm himself by the fire for a bit. But soon the conversation turns and temperaments are challenged.
Set up very much like a gothic mystery, the play is subtle and fascinating, not quite giving away its secrets right away. The character of the Tinker was definitely the highlight of the production, slightly erratic but always a step ahead of his conversation partners, weaving a web of story and mystery, knowing just a little too much, but never giving quite enough.
The play is fascinating in its many revelations and slow reveals. There could be some improvements here and there, but overall a very enjoyable mystery that leaves the audience with a sense of unease and dread.