Mean Bully

BULLY by Stephen Guy-McGrath and Steven Mayoff, directed by Ted Dykstra, with Alex Poch-Goldin and Guy-McGrath. Presented by Strange/Momentum at.


BULLY by Stephen Guy-McGrath and Steven Mayoff, directed by Ted Dykstra, with Alex Poch-Goldin and Guy-McGrath. Presented by Strange/Momentum at the Theatre Centre (1087 Queen West). Runs to November 10, Thursday-Saturday 8 pm, Sunday 2 and 7 pm. $15. 416-894-1348. Rating: NNNN

Rating: NNNN

maybe it’s not einstein, but you can’t go wrong with Bully’s dramatic formula: clever text + moving performances x the magic of flying = an engaging hour of theatre.Written by Stephen Guy-McGrath and Steven Mayoff, Bully is the tale of the young Eugene-Michael Carter, suspended — in several senses — in a crucial life moment as he tries to figure out how to deal with an intimidating schoolyard peer, a broken family and his own tragic actions.

His mentor is wheelchair-bound physicist Stephen Hawking, a fantasy parent/friend who reminds Eugene of scientific truths and how they apply to relationships between people as well as those between atoms.

Guy-McGrath embodies the angst-ridden Eugene’s emotional centre in this fine production, which nicely bridges the worlds of quantum mechanics, theology and childhood fears under director Ted Dykstra. The incorporation of a flying contraption into the piece, allowing Eugene to take wing over stage and audience, is inspired. He becomes a flipping, random-moving electron in his own increasingly chaotic universe, one given extra drama by lighting designer Rick Banville.

But a single unstable particle generates less energy than two interacting ones. Alex Poch-Goldin plays a number of roles — the flat-voiced Hawking, Eugene’s needy mother and the bully — offering Guy-McGrath figures to bounce off, sometimes literally. The result is a dark narrative about a lonely, troubled boy who finds it difficult to multiply his small kernel of happiness even with the help of an intelligent guide.

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