3 SQUARES A DAY by Tom Walmsley, directed by Kate Lynch (Theatre Passe Muraille, 16 Ryerson). To March 12. $10-$30. See Continuing for details. 416-504-7529. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
When Thomas James (David Jansen) visits his family in Tom Walmsley 's latest satirical comedy, 3 Squares A Day , he encounters three things: class division, a horny housewife and suburban ennui. It's a depressing triple threat that's turned into pure comic gold by the Canadian playwright known for addressing class conflict and human craziness with style and substance.
Trapped in the cookie-cutter home of brother Morgan ( Jordan Pettle ) and sister-in-law Candace ( Patricia Fagan ), Thomas James, the stereotypical left-leaning urban intellectual, right down to the coffee addiction and scraggy hair, takes a new job as a security guard at his brother's firm.
Things improve - on the surface, anyway - when Candace asks him to get naked at a neighbourhood party. Fagan chirps, "If it can't make me pregnant, it's not really a sin." It would be unsporting to reveal more, but everything a girl likes in a night at the theatre soon follows: sex, lies and an ass-kicking.
The action takes place in Morgan and Candace's kitchen, designed by Kelly Wolf to look flat. It's actually three-dimensional, suggesting that nothing is as it seems.
Fine ensemble work under the leadership of director Kate Lynch means that Jansen's dry delivery balances Fagan's brilliantly nutty and shrill performance as Candace and Pettle's send-up of the ultimate man's man.
Walmsley's only misstep is the introduction of Angelina, a love interest for Thomas James who never appears onstage. Walmsley intends her as a measure of Thomas James's capitulation to his wacko right-wing relatives. This development never entirely gets off the ground and distracts luckily, not for long from Walmsley's hysterical comments on social class and religious affinity in modern society.