CRANKED (Lorraine Kimsa). To May 3. 416-862-2222. See listings. Rating: NNNN
Meet Stan, aka Definition, the freestyle MC who loves horror movies and moving to the rhythm of his own rhyming talent.
Oh, yeah, and crystal meth.
Cranked, Michael P. Northey’s work about a teen whose zest for life narrows down to the necessity of the next fix, lasts a mere 45 minutes. But in the hands of actor Kyle Cameron and director Patrick McDonald – and with music and beats by Kyprios and Stylust, DJ’d by Bee Side (Evan Brenner) – the show is equally riveting and scary.
It follows Stan’s year-long arc from secure, confident freestyle DJ to twitchy, hallucinating wreck who thinks of nothing but a score’s anticipated high. Playing all the characters in the show, Cameron creates family members, competitors and counsellors, morphing like a chameleon from one to another.
But we never lose sight of Stan, who aptly compares his need for a hit to a zombie’s lust for flesh. Looking back just before he goes into another competition, Stan knows he’s gone from “king of the hill to bottom of the barrel,” unable to capture the feeling of that first high.
We watch the meltdown happen in this cold, uncompromising story, and see Stan start to take control of his life again. Importantly, Cranked doesn’t preach, but instead shows us what the central character goes through and lets us draw our own conclusions.