BULLY by Stephen Guy-McGrath and Steven Mayoff, directed by Ted Dykstra, with Alex Poch-Goldin and Guy-McGrath. Presented by Strange/Momentum at the Theatre Centre (1087 Queen West). Runs to November 10, Thursday-Saturday 8 pm, Sunday 2 and 7 pm. $15. 416-894-1348. Rating: NNNN
maybe it's not einstein, but you can't go wrong with Bully's dramatic formula: clever text + moving performances x the magic of flying = an engaging hour of theatre.Written by Stephen Guy-McGrath and Steven Mayoff, Bully is the tale of the young Eugene-Michael Carter, suspended -- in several senses -- in a crucial life moment as he tries to figure out how to deal with an intimidating schoolyard peer, a broken family and his own tragic actions.
His mentor is wheelchair-bound physicist Stephen Hawking, a fantasy parent/friend who reminds Eugene of scientific truths and how they apply to relationships between people as well as those between atoms.
Guy-McGrath embodies the angst-ridden Eugene's emotional centre in this fine production, which nicely bridges the worlds of quantum mechanics, theology and childhood fears under director Ted Dykstra. The incorporation of a flying contraption into the piece, allowing Eugene to take wing over stage and audience, is inspired. He becomes a flipping, random-moving electron in his own increasingly chaotic universe, one given extra drama by lighting designer Rick Banville.
But a single unstable particle generates less energy than two interacting ones. Alex Poch-Goldin plays a number of roles -- the flat-voiced Hawking, Eugene's needy mother and the bully -- offering Guy-McGrath figures to bounce off, sometimes literally. The result is a dark narrative about a lonely, troubled boy who finds it difficult to multiply his small kernel of happiness even with the help of an intelligent guide.