ADULT ENTERTAINMENT by George F. Walker, directed by Ken Gass, with David Ferry, Linda Prystawska, Jane Spidell and Ron White. Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst). Runs in rep with The End Of Civilization to June 12, Tuesday-Saturday 8 pm (some Sats 6:30 or 9:15 pm), Sunday 2 pm (June 5 at 7 pm). $25-$34, Sunday pwyc-$20, discount for two-show purchase. 416-504-9971. Rating: NNNN
George F. Walker's seedy motelroom walls don't have to talk. The characters in Walker's six-show Suburban Motel series are plenty articulate, alternately funny, challenging and upsetting in what they say. And in what they do.
Take Adult Entertainment, one of two scripts that Factory 's remounted to remind us what a powerful, engaging writer Walker is. Two less-than-admirable cops meet wife and lover in Shawn Kerwin 's economical, no-name motel set, trying to satisfy their inner cravings and maybe even, in a twisted way, make the world a better place.
But the plot hatched by Jayne ( Jane Spidell ), a Crown lawyer who's largely given up on her clients, and Max ( Ron White ), the cop who's having sex with her, quickly goes to rat shit and draws in Max's drunken, hooker-obsessed partner, Donnie ( David Ferry ), and his estranged, tightly wound wife, Pam ( Linda Prystawska ).
Walker's known for his rapid-fire, acid-tinged dialogue, but he and director Ken Gass also understand how to use silences to great effect. From the moment Spidell and White tiptoe covertly into the room for an assignation to the final quiet moments they share nearly 90 minutes later, the pair create a complex relationship that's angry, desperate and hysterical on several levels.
Ferry and Prystawska also inhabit vibrant fucked-up characters who are determined to battle others if not always their own inner demons. All four people know the world is a dark place, but Walker's given each an amazing dramatic energy to fight it; none of these folks capitulate, either in their speeches or their dangerous actions.
Though the last scene becomes a frantic, bloody comedy, with blame tossed liberally all around, the play itself ends on a less frenzied note.
In fact, it's hard to think of a more nuanced episode this season than those last moments, when Max recounts a horrific episode from his past and Jayne responds with understanding, tenderness and sympathy. A huge contrast to the rest of the high-explosive play, those final moments - exquisitely performed - typify the richness of Walker's writing.