Wolf whistle

WOLFBOY by Brad Fraser (Mnemonic Productions). At the Annex Theatre. To August 29. See listing. Rating: NNN

Mnemonic Productions is a young company, so it’s easy to forgive some lacklustre production details in their inaugural offering, a revival of Brad Fraser’s 1981 play Wolfboy.

Thankfully, a couple of good performances and glimpses of Fraser’s early anarchic talent make this a worthwhile outing.

David (Caleb McMullen) and Bernie (Michael Rubinstein) are neighbours in a mental institution, their rooms, bizarrely, separated by an unlocked door. David is an abused and abusive hustler who believes he’s a wolf, while high school jock Bernie has tried to commit suicide and suffers under a dominating father.

The two characters aren’t totally defined, and a Wizard of Oz motif in the script feels contrived, but Fraser sets up an intriguing power dynamic that shifts as the two begin to confront their disturbing pasts. Both actors dig deeply into the roles and share a fitting animal chemistry when together.

Director Jordan Dibe stresses the similarities between them by dividing the set into two nearly identical rooms and casting actors who are about the same height and build.

Unfortunately, the wobbly set and amateurish paint job detract from the show, and a crude sound design disorients and confuses.

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