ME ME ME ... by Lise Vaillancourt, directed by Robert Dion (DynamO/Lorraine Kimsa Theatre, 165 Front East). Saturday 2 pm. $15-$20. 416- 862-2222. Rating: NN
Montreal's dynamo theatre's suc cess rests on its gymnastics-based exploration of young people's feelings. The combination of narrative and physical theatre is exciting in works like Lili and Mur-Mur, but the company's current show, me me me..., only sketches in a story. Set in an elementary school, it looks at the dreamy Mathilda ( Mariflore Véronneau ), who's turned into an object of ridicule by three classmates, the joker Stanley ( Oliver Koomsatira ), the messy Nathan ( Frédéric Nadeau ) and the sometimes bookish Suzanna ( Kim Henry ). There's also a romantic janitor ( Charles Gaudreau ) who looks on the bright side of life and tries to make peace when things get tense in the classroom.
Directed by Robert Dion , the show works best in its physical moments, which include some impressive acrobatics: balancing on desks, swinging from ceiling pipes and breakdancing moves. But it tends to fall apart when writer Lise Vaillancourt tries to make points about bullying, friendship and rejection.
It's not that she doesn't know the right buttons to push, but she only brushes them lightly. The characters' internal musings "Who'll take care of me if my parents die?" or "When do I become a grown-up?" last about a sentence and have no reverberations in the rest of the show. Nathan's clearly an outsider like Mathilda, for instance, but we get to know little about him.
There's a hint of more complexity in Stanley, who nicely physicalizes the conflict of wanting to be a friend to Mathilda and also wanting to be part of the in-crowd, but even here there's more to explore.
This narrative and character thinness doesn't stop the young audience from enjoying the acrobatics.
But there's more at play here, and it's a shame that the flimsy narrative fails to follow through on the set-up's potential richness.