By Kelly Luck
The Toymaker is the story of Prudence, a second-(or third)-generation toymaker who lives in her shop, all alone with her toys. Yes, she talks to them. Yes, she hears them talk back. No, she never leaves the store. And no, she does not do what you may call a brisk trade.
The story kicks in as Carson (J. Will Fritz) comes in, seemingly in fear of something or someone (we never find out). Prudence (Alisa Lynn), desperate for company, hires him on the spot to be her assistant, though she has no real idea what to do with him. Now, we’re just going to stop the storyline right there, because A) it gets pretty spoilery from there, and B) you already know what’s going to happen anyway.
Yes, you do.
The humor is there, sometimes. Mostly it is character-driven, playing off of Prudence’s awkwardness and inability to connect with other people. Members of the audience on the autism spectrum, such as this reviewer, may wince with recognition more than once at her awkward fumblings, but overall the jokes work. The suspense is, as one may imagine, rather muted, and when we get to what is clearly meant to be the Big Shocking Reveal, it is undermined even more by a pair of ridiculous looking novelty glasses.
Anyway. It’s an odd little play, interestingly dark but not quite what it sets out to be. It is always interesting to check out the darker side of the Fringe,