Ian Carpenter's Easy is a super-charged look at a quartet of people and how they deal with various stimulants -- drugs, booze and sex. In Carpenter's Fringe production, Easy is full of dramatic highs and never turns into a downer.
The initial engine of the show is Jay (Scott McCord), whose drug needs are seemingly endless. But it's the more passive Harmony (Christopher Jacot), his dealer, who ends up holding the reins. Jay's partner, Charlie (Tova Smith), is pregnant and more than a little spaced out, while the sexually omnivorous Elly (Amy Price-Francis) needs all the others to allay her insecurities.
Carpenter's fast-paced blackouts as the group try different chemicals -- the episodes are peppered with a sharp score by synKratic and lighting bursts by J.P. Robichaud -- contribute to the production's intense physicality and theatricality. Only in a few scenes near the end, as the four pair off in a surprising fashion, does the script feel like it's treading water.
But the actors' focused energy never fades, and there's exceptional work by McCord -- who grows in every production he does -- and Price-Francis, scarily powerful as the fascinating, manic, self- and other-destructive Elly.
EASY, written and directed by Ian Carpenter, with Scott McCord, Amy Price-Francis, Tova Smith and Christopher Jacot. Presented by Theatre Viscera and the Fringe at Artword Theatre. July 6-16. Rating: NNNN