SLIP KNOT by Ken Gass, directed by Sarah Stanley, with Les Carlson, Dmitry Chepovetsky, Philippa Domville and John Gilbert. Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst). Runs to February 3, Tuesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinees Saturday and Sunday 2 pm. $20-$28, Sunday pwyc-$20. 416-504-9971. Rating: NN Rating: NN
ken gass's slip knot wants to talk about justice, truth, revenge and culpability, but the piece unravels long before the final curtain.It brings together a pair of secret-bearing survivors from the second world war. William (John Gilbert) is a successful businessman who's cut himself off from the past, while the shabby Fritz (Les Carlson) wants to exorcise the demons the men share. Add William's randy son (Dmitry Chepovetsky) and Fritz's alluring daughter (Philippa Domville) and there's potential for emotional and sexual tension.
But the script doesn't deliver. Gass chooses the thriller genre and then offers few surprises, creating only thin characters and a plotline full of holes. All director Sarah Stanley can do is emphasize the Wait Until Dark aspect of the piece, complete with melodramatic lighting effects and a sound design appropriate to a 60s film nail-biter -- crashing thunder, ominous chords, the whole thing. You'd go along if it were a stylish send-up. It's not.
The cast marches gamely through the action, but only Domville as the mercurial Judith stands out, playing a variety of tones to reach beneath the play's surface. JK