It Trickles Down, a new play by David Etherington and Jake Martin, which previously played the Fundy Fringe Festival in St. John and St. Thomas University in Fredericton, shines the light on two of an unnamed city’s mayor’s bureaucratic pundits whose addiction to research surveys, elaborate planning strategies and evasion of responsibility results in their ignoring a very immediate problem: the city is rapidly sinking into the sewers.
There are some great satirical moments in It Trickles Down that highlight the absurdity of bureaucracy in government and how it can often lead to gross mismanagement of a city’s political concerns instead of providing efficiency or better insight into what benefits the city’s residents. Martin and Etherington have sharp comic timing and great chemistry with one another as Gerard and Rick, two chronically lazy civil servants. Yet, I found that I was less interested in them as protagonists than I was in the mysterious protestors gathering at the Heritage Fairground, figures suggestive of the members of Occupy Movements, but who looked more like a sinister Clopin from Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I would be interested in seeing a play that shifts more focus toward these figures and features Gerard and Rick as the two Absurdist, hilarious, clueless villains.
In all, I found It Trickles Down to be a memorable evening at the Atlantic Fringe Festival, with lots of darkly funny and insightful commentary on politics in the postmodern world. I hope Etherington and Martin keep working on this piece because it has a lot of fascinating potential for a longer piece.