DEAD AHEAD Written and directed by Edward Roy (Topological Theatre/Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People). At the Lorraine Kimsa Studio (165 Front East). To May 16. $15-$20. 416-862-2222. Rating: NNN
Edward Roy’s Dead Ahead takes aim at violent video games like Grand Theft Auto. That’s a pretty obvious and broad target for a show, especially with the release last week of GTA 4. Too bad there’s not a bit more complexity in Roy’s presentation.
Long-standing friends Cory (Eli Ham), Andrew (Ben Lewis) and Tiga (Ashton Doudelet) kill time playing a game called Dead Ahead, which involves murder sprees and organized crime. Together they’re known as the Chaotic Crew, a name that sums up their confusing, fragmented lives. Cory has an alcoholic, abusive dad; Drew has been hiding his relationship with Megan (Sabryn Rock) from his friends; and there’s the hint that Tiga may be gay and uneasy about it.
When they get involved in a real act of violence, the trio falls apart and they become suspicious of each other. Roy has a good feel for the competitive way young guys talk – and what they don’t talk about. He’s less successful setting up his plot points and characters.
Bits of exposition feel clunky, and the characters’ actions would resonate more if we knew something about them.As a director, Roy has problems switching between the real world and his video game sequences. A shame, because these segues could be highly theatrical.
But the four young actors – each of them a talent to watch – flesh out their roles believably.
They’re helped by Teresa Przybylski’s spare but suggestive set and costumes (great use of black cubes and hoodies with glowing names on the backs), graphic-novel-style illustrations by Chris Clifford projected onto a screen and Lyon Smith’s gritty sound design.