Starring Helene Joy, Yanna McIntosh. Written by Andrew Bovell. Directed by Philip Riccio. Berkeley Street Theatre, to Nov. 24.
Some plays are too clever for their own good. Highly regarded Australian playwright Andrew Bovell’s 1996 mystery-drama, Speaking in Tongues, applies an intricate, jigsaw puzzle-like structure to a serious meditation on the theme of trust. But his cunning construction ends up feeling too contrived, to the degree that you can almost hear the connections locking into place. Or at least that’s the impression left by The Company Theatre’s unsatisfying production, directed at a snail’s pace by Philip Riccio. An impressive cast—Richard Clarkin, Jonathan Goad, Helene Joy, and Yanna McIntosh—do fine work in nine roles that include two pairs of unfaithful spouses and five other characters with whom they become tangentially involved. But at over two hours, the play takes too long to make its point. By the time it reaches its climax, you’ve already spotted what’s coming from a distance. Fans of Bovell’s later, greater When the Rain Stops Falling will be disappointed.