Jimmy & Vito by John Tokatlidis, Vince Salonia and Charles Ketchabaw, directed by Ketchabaw, with Tokatlidis and Salonia. Presented by Ketchabaw at the Tranzac Club (292 Brunswick). Runs to October 2, Wednesday-Friday 8 pm, Saturday 7 and 9 pm. $13-$15. 416-854-5057, www.jimmyandvito.com. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
The actors in Jimmy & Vito, John Tokatlidis and Vince Salonia , both trained at Second City and spent many months wearing blue tuxes at Tony 'N' Tina's Wedding. So it's no surprise that the play is full of laughs. What's surprising is how dark and dramatic it gets, too.
The two play a pair of out-of-work actors who bond during an audition and decide to become roommates, playfully arguing over which of their cultures is better. (Jimmy's Greek, Vito's Italian.)
Vito's got a drug and alcohol problem, while Jimmy's addicted to poker. Neither is doing too well with women - Jimmy's still hung up on his ex - so one night, after striking out at a nightclub, they decide to hire an escort and indulge in a night of sex and drugs.
There are echoes here of everything from Seinfeld to Marty, but the characters are never clichéd and the humour comes about honestly.
Director Charles Ketchabaw - he's also a co-writer - stages the piece effectively, with the detour to the nightclub paying off nicely.
As the carefree Vito, Salonia makes up in charm and heart what he lacks in diction, while Tokatlidis delivers a disciplined, understated performance as the more haunted Jimmy.
Some twists and turns come too quickly near the end - you can see the writers trying to raise the stakes, as if by formula - but that doesn't mar this funny and poignant look at friendship.
Jimmy & Vito are worth checking out.