(NOD) by Rick Roberts, directed by Jacquie P.A. Thomas, with Erica Buss, Marjorie Campbell, Lori Nancy Kalamanski, Michael Spence and Aaron Willis. Presented by Theatre Gargantua at Factory Mainspace (125 Bathurst). Runs to December 7, Wednesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinees Sunday 2 pm and some weekdays 1 pm. $15-$25, Sunday pwyc-$19. 416-504-9971. Rating: NNN
in many families, mum's the word . She's the final word, in fact, in the highly dysfunctional family that makes up Rick Roberts' s (nod) . Three siblings gather in their falling-apart house after the demise of mother, who won't stay deceased but insists on attending her own memorial dinner. The surreal, dreamlike script is often very funny, but the very physical production given it by Theatre Gargantua 's Jacquie P.A. Thomas often seems forced and stitched on rather than organic to the material. More effective is the vocal soundscape contributed by the cast.
The blend of physicality and text only works in the final third of the piece, the dinner itself, where narcoleptic control-freak sister ( Erica Buss ), alcoholic elder brother ( Michael Spence ), subservient younger brother ( Aaron Willis ) and enigmatic young tenant ( Lori Nancy Kalamanski ) finally get together to celebrate and bury the acerbic mater ( Marjorie Campbell ).
The family has lots to resolve, including the issue of a father who isn't around but whose memory haunts the ramshackle, corroding house (a fine design by Spence). Ironically, the show's narrative climax isn't so very surprising.
Several performances bolster the production. Vague as her character is, Kalamanski's quicksilver quality is just right, while Willis succeeds at suggesting feelings locked within the young brother. Best of all is Campbell's bouffon parent, an outlandish, manipulative figure who rules from beyond the grave.