MY FELLOW CREATURES (Absit Omen/Buddies in Bad Times). To June 1. 416-?504-?7529. See Continuing in listings. Rating: NNN
Not everything works, but Michael Rubenfeld’s My Fellow Creatures achieves something rare and unexpected. It gets us to sympathize with two pedophiles.
Arthur (Terrence Bryant) has been imprisoned for 12 years, while the more inexperienced Kelly (Benjamin Clost) has just turned himself in. Their attitudes towards their crimes couldn’t be more different. Arthur, a psychiatrist himself, refuses rehabilitation, believing he and his former victim were in love, whereas Kelly can’t live with his uncontrollable urges.
Caught between the two men is John (Richard Zeppieri), a guard whose own family life is coming apart.
A few too many awkward entrances and exits mar the beginning of the play, and Rubenfeld’s writing here suffers from portentous symbols. But a mid-?play revelation disturbs the characters’ power balance, and by the end each man’s beliefs are tried and tested.
Clost delivers a clenched fist of a performance; his Kelly looks like he hasn’t slept in a year. Bryant’s Arthur, meanwhile, travels from smug superiority to disillusionment in a few convincing strokes.
Rubenfeld and designer Robin Fisher make good use of the set so the characters are always observed, even from above. In this universe, it’s hard to hide any secrets, no matter how firmly you cling to them.