FIERCE by George F. Walker (Criminal Girlfriends). At the Red Sandcastle (922 Queen East). Runs to March 10. $15-$25. fiercetoronto.bpt.me..
Fierce is the second George F. Walker world premiere in less than six months. But this two-hander is a lot less compelling, and action-filled, than last falls The Chance, although both plays were directed by Wes Berger.
Unstable drug addict Jayne (Emmelia Gordon) has been ordered by a judge to talk with psychiatrist Maggie (Marisa Crockett) after a recent incident involving walking into traffic. But before Jayne unpacks her woes, she wants Maggie to open up about her own past, which includes foster homes and drug use.
Its a contrived set-up reminiscent of The Silence Of The Lambss Quid pro quo arrangement between Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lecter. And it merely seems like a way for playwright Walker to reveal backstory about his characters in an artificial way.
Contrived also describes how Jayne easily convinces Maggie to take LSD with her and drink quarts of vodka, which brings down both womens defences and lets them confront their demons.
All of this might be watchable with more compelling actors. Gordon has a short-fuse intensity and fine comic timing, but she doesnt demonstrate much emotional range. Crockett speaks her lines mechanically and fails to suggest the subtext needed for this kind of role.
Bergers production is a bare bones affair, with a nondescript set and a strange lighting design (both are by Julia Kim) that add little to the thin story.