Mystery Town

MADDER by Kevin Rees-Cummings, directed by Sam Stedman, with Ryan McVittie, Allison Rees-Cummings, Rebecca Burton, Sandy Donaldson, Radek Hajda, Shane.


MADDER by Kevin Rees-Cummings, directed by Sam Stedman, with Ryan McVittie, Allison Rees-Cummings, Rebecca Burton, Sandy Donaldson, Radek Hajda, Shane MacKinnon, Natasha Mytnowych, Kevin Rees-Cummings and Jason Benoit. Presented by HammerHead Brand at Factory Studio, August 2 at 8 pm, August 4 at 12:30 pm, August 5 at 9:30 pm, August 7 at 11 pm, August 9 at 6:30 pm, August 10 at 5 pm.

Rating: NNNNN

kevin rees-cummings believes in getting theatre out of the audience’s heads and into their guts.He’s sure hitting a nerve somewhere. Last year’s SummerWorks jury liked his energetic skinhead play Rabid so much that they added a prize for it, guaranteeing Rees-Cummings a SummerWorks slot this year.

The new creation is Madder, about the disappearance of a teenager in a small town. Her vanishing isn’t so much a mystery to be solved as the catalyst for the breakdown of various townsfolk and visitors.

Think a Canadian Twin Peaks, with the central focus the characters’ emotionally twisted innards.

“I’m concerned with making theatre that has an impact similar to dance, which is why my work is often erratic and manic in its physicality,” says the talented writer/performer, who created the piece with his cast.

“I don’t think viewers have to make immediate or literal sense of what they see, and a performance affects everyone uniquely. That’s what prompts conversations in the pub later.”

Some people didn’t know what to make of the excitingly high-energy Rabid, such as the scene in which one character breaks down and brays like a donkey.

“We try to be more normal in public than we actually are inside, for fear of embarrassment or looking uncool. I’m interested in the extremes of action, in the kind of abstract reaction people have to a real situation.”

Madder, he adds, is more sedate than the punk-rock Rabid. But that doesn’t mean the play or characters are comfy.

“I hate the idea that you have to be faithful to motivation, logic or style. How is art supposed to grow, change or comment on society if we keep politely opening doors and showing off our creations as nicely covered furniture?

“All I can think is, “Yeah, I have a couch, too.'”jonkap@nowtoronto.com

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