MOSLEY AND ME by Adam Pettle, directed by Vikki Anderson, with Randy Hughson and Alex Poch-Goldin. Presented by DVxT in association with CanStage at the Berkeley Street Theatre (26 Berkeley). Runs to December 13, Monday-Saturday 8 pm, matinees Wednesday and Saturday 1 pm. $15-$35, Monday limited pwyc. 416-368-3110. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
As nathan mitz (Alex Poch-goldin), the Me in Mosley And Me , points out, the same few stories get told over and over again. What's incredible is how Adam Pettle spins them yet again in his entertaining and slick new play. Pettle (Zadie's Shoes, Sunday Father) writes some of the best dialogue of any playwright today, and his one-liners always catch you by surprise. He's like David Mamet with a sense of humour and a yarmulke. The stakes are high, lines crackle and you always want to know how the thing is going to end.
Mosley ( Randy Hughson ) is an ex-con trying to go clean by working at a Montreal bagel shop along with aspiring screenwriter Mitz. Soon, Mosley has joined Mitz's regular poker game, and the cat-and-mouse game of who's conning whom begins.
Pettle throws in a few wild cards - Mitz's on-again, off-again girlfriend, for instance - that make an appearance and then fail to pay off when the cards are all revealed. (The script needs more dramaturgy.) There's lots of psychological insight, if not in the two leads, then into the game of poker itself.
Vikki Anderson 's production contains some oddities, including having Mosley not tired in the least making bagels at 5 am and some distracting sound effects in the latter half.
But Pettle is such a good storyteller that characters only talked about come vividly to life. And the acting is superb. The charismatic Hughson changes moods in a second, making Mosley one of this season's most unpredictable and menacing figures, while Poch-Goldin was born to play the menschy intelligent writer stuck kneading dough.
It's true that the themes aren't as profound as those in Pettle's other works, but there's no question the playwright's still on a winning streak.