Currently rubbing one out at the Varscona, Stephen Massicotte’s dark and exploratory Pervert is something akin to what one might find at the Fringe Festival, rather than some of the more traditional plays that grace the theatre venues in our fair city. 


Northern Light Theatre’s production provides a fascinating look at the life of a porn retailer and his clientele, largely from the perspective of the hetero male.  This one dimensional view creates a bit of an oversight, giving little voice to women’s views in the play, and skirts questions of what is and isn’t homosexual activity, choosing instead to have one insecure character brand everything outside of vanilla sex as perverse. 


Pervert played to big laughs, both titillating and nervous, and had this reviewer squirming through one prolonged sequence.  Although it is Doug Mertz’s Mike who is the driving force of the play, Mary Hulbert and Jason Chinn are the standouts in this production.  Hulbert’s character, Trish, is set up to fail, involved in an insecure relationship with Chinn’s Tim, where their tragic lack of trust is devastating, and she only serves as a means to prove Tim’s mistrust about her waitressing lifestyle right towards the end  of the play.  


There are a few moments where the cast feels a bit stiff for this conversationally heavy dialogue, where a beat or two needs to be taken to speed up or slow down the action and this is lack of ease in the flow of conversation leaves the work feeling a bit stilted.  The writing clumsily fades at the end, with a botched ending that leaves little to say about the previous ninety minutes.  It’s a surreal ending to an otherwise very real play, and it pushes questions of perversion and insecurity, but if this is the playwright’s choice, he doesn’t go far enough for the abrupt ending.  


Overall it’s a relatively strong production, with a few flat notes that leave the audience wanting, and not in that fun, naughty way. 


3 ½ out of 5 Stars


Pervert runs through April 17th at the Varscona Theatre


more in Theatre Review     |     posted Apr 11th, 2011 at 12:09pm     

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