Buncha' Young Artists Festival presented by Theatre Direct Canada at Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace (16 Ryerson). Runs in rep to March 23. $12-$20., 416-504-7529.
Martian Summer by Nathalie Boisvert, directed by Jennifer Tarver, with Soraya Peerbaye and Michelle Polak. Rating: NN
what could be more naturalthan for preteen Kiko and Peanut, outsiders at school and home, to look to escape with space aliens? Isolated in this world, they hope to find acceptance and comfort in another.Nathalie Boisvert's intense drama starts promisingly enough, as the angry Kiko (Michelle Polak) and intellectual Peanut (Soraya Peerbaye) bond in a prickly fashion.
But the characters fail to grow over the hour-long piece, and even introducing Peanut's physically challenged, bedridden sister (Erin Shields) adds little power.
The dialogue is stiff, though it's hard to tell whether the awkwardness is in the original or Bobby Theodore's translation.
Still, the production has its strengths, among them director Jennifer Tarver's driving action on Glen Charles Landry's multi-level set, and Polak's hypnotic work, nicely suggesting the fear and powerlessness lurking beneath control-freak Kiko's tough surface.