My last show from the first weekend of the Fertile Ground Festival was Dirty Bomb
: A thoroughly perplexing world premiere, written and directed by recent New York transplant Rob Newton
, in which a pair of despicable middle-aged siblings drink, scream and complain about their mother, who is rapidly falling into dementia, and the depraved young hustler who seems determined to destroy all their lives. Surreal sob-stories about a blind giant on the subway and parents driven to suicide by the atom bomb intrude occasionally. It's not a bad script, but certainly a baffling one—by the ambiguous end, I still had no idea what any of Newton's characters wanted from one another. Maybe that's the point. The production is surprisingly strong for a show mounted without the backing of a company, with good performances from Paul Glazier as the hustler and Trish Egan as the mother, whose old-fashioned dignity clashes with the squalid lives of her children. Artist Jamie Newton contributed a jarring soundtrack of static and famous sound bites and equally disconcerting scenery: hanging panels made from flattened cardboard boxes painted with bolt black circles and arrows, a gratified park bench, a filthy bed, a television tuned to a dead station. Dirty Bomb
, whether you like the script or not, is without question an impressive entry into the scene.