Bang Bang delivers timely, explosive drama with lots of laughs

BANG BANG by Kat Sandler (Factory Theatre, 125 Bathurst). Runs to February 24. $30-$50. See listing. Rating: NNNNNo easy answers.

BANG BANG by Kat Sandler (Factory Theatre, 125 Bathurst). Runs to February 24. $30-$50. See listing. Rating: NNNN

No easy answers emerge at the end of Kat Sandlers explosive new play, Bang Bang and amen for that.

It deals with the hottest of hot-button issues, like police violence against Black men, voice appropriation, mental illness and white male privilege. And none of these has a simple solution.

Tim (Jeff Lillico) has written a play loosely inspired by a real-life case in which a rookie cop, Lila (Khadijah Roberts-Abdullah), shot a young Black man.

A distraught Lila refused to talk to Tim for his play, but now that the works being adapted into a film, he decides to drop by her mother Karens (Karen Robinson) home (naturalistically realized by designer Nick Blais), where shes moved back after losing her job, suffering from depression and hitting the bottle.

Soon, two figures connected to the movie also arrive: Jackie (Sebastien Heins), an actor looking to play the role of the cop, and Tony (Richard Zeppieri), a former cop whos now Jackies bodyguard.

Sandlers always been brilliant in setting up situations, and here shes provided one thats both dramatically charged, timely and wickedly funny.

If the first act sets up the characters, their quirks and their sensitive spots, the second in which everyone takes part in a read of Tims cliche-filled script lets them and their preconceptions bang up against each other.

Every character wants something, and some obviously arent going to be satisfied. Plus there are a couple of big secrets.

Among the standouts are Lillico, whose characters cheerful geekiness masks aggression and smugness, and Heins, who brings just the right touch of deluded confidence to his ambitious pop-star-turned-actor.

The heart of the play is the relationship between mother and daughter, and although Roberts-Abdullah could add shading to her performance, Robinson, whom youll watch even when others are talking, finds a warmth and generosity in their interaction that suggests decades of lived life.

Dont be surprised if, after laughing at Sandlers satire and thinking about the issues, you tear up over the effects of guilt and anger on two family members.

Brand Voices

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