US AGAINST EVERYONE by Josef Beeby, Sebastian Biasucci, Diana Eremeeva, Hayden Finkelshtain, Grace Gordon, Lizzie Moffatt and Nicole Wilson (Decapod Media/Toronto Fringe Festival). At the Tarragon Mainspace (30 Bridgman). July 15 at 2 pm, July 16 at 9:45 pm. See listing. Rating: NNNN
An idealistic young Montreal playwright gets her fierce feminist script accepted by a producer friend in Hollywood, but the film they end up planning bears little resemblance to what she originally wrote.
That’s the premise of this very funny satire of the film biz, which is more concerned with actors’ egos, CGI and appealing to Gen Z audiences than with any artistic integrity.
Director Nicole Wilson, who helped create the show with the cast, does fine work juggling the play’s action, whether it’s capturing an endless game of phone tag (Q: why don’t these people send each other texts or emails?) or staging a hilarious series of entrances and exits in a production office.
While the play at first seems to promise a look at the disintegrating friendship between writer Helen (Diana Eremeeva) and producer Sybil (Grace Gordon), who met each other at film school, it soon becomes a very funny farce, particularly when Sebastian Biasucci and Lizzie Moffatt show up. Biasucci plays a vain star obsessed with taking off his shirt and eating M&Ms, while Moffatt nearly steals the show as a series of artisans and craftspeople, each with a distinct trait.
The play is also set in a post-#MeToo movement. Some of the sharpest dialogue is between the two men – Biasucci’s action hero and Hayden Finkelshtain’s assistant producer – as they try to outdo each other by performing their wokeness and sensitivity.