CRIMES by Adam Nashman, directed by Hrant Alianak, with Alon Nashman, Oliver Becker, Allan Aarons, Valerie Buhagiar and Michael Waller. Presented by Alianak Theatre in association with Bald Ego and Threshold at Berkeley Street Upstairs (26 Berkeley). Runs to February 1, Monday-Saturday 8 pm, matinee Saturday 2:30 pm. $21-$28, Monday pwyc-$15, stu/srs discount. 416-504-7529. Rating: NN
playwright adam nashman shovels an overwhelming amount of material into Crimes. Tir, his central figure, is an Armenian Jewish Canadian who, while searching for his roots, manages to comment on the last century's Armenian and Jewish genocides.Then there's Tir's search for the Spear of Destiny, a holy relic that gives the play echoes of an Indiana Jones film; Armenian orphans in Canada; a scene from a second world war movie; some strained magic realism; and an explosive climax that underlines the ongoing legacy of hate. All that and lots of drugs -- pot, hash, coke and opium.
Too bad in the midst of a multitude of back stories and time shifts there are few believable characters, and little use is made of fine actors like Alon Nashman, Valerie Buhagiar and Michael Waller. Oliver Becker creates the most vivid figure, a Turkish opium merchant named Selim who is intense and mysterious without a bit of hokiness.
He and Nashman (as Tir) have the work's best scenes, notably one in which the Turk and the Armenian argue about their people's pasts. Here's the start of a different play, one in which we might care about Selim and Tir.