PILEDRIVER! by Darrin Hagen and Wes Borg (Buddies/Guys in Disguise Vs. Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie), directed by Bradley Moss, with April Banigan, Joe Bird, Borg, Hagen and Jeff Page. Runs to Apr 15, Tues-Sat 8 pm, Sun mat 2:30 pm. $15-$18, Tues and Sun pwyc. 12 Alexander. 416-975-8555. Rating: NN
the takedowns in piledriver! aren't just in the ring. The flat thuds you hear and see are storyline and characters hitting the mat.
This Fringe-born tale of 70s gay and straight second-string Canadian wrestlers has amusing moments, thoughts on wrestling's appeal and homophobia, and some second-act plot twists. But at more than two hours, it overstays its welcome.
Inspired by fact, PileDriver! reveals the behind-the-scenes scenarios and relationships in a small touring wrestling troupe. There's a manufactured drama of good-versus-bad guys that's upset when a young gay upstart (Joe Bird) sets out to fuck -- in several senses -- the show's married star (Darrin Hagen).
Wes Borg as the "villainous" Killer Karl and Jeff Page as Harvey, the group's ref and offstage dowager queen, steal the show from the central duo and the star's wife (April Banigan).
The pair's work with these and other small roles, suggesting good sketch comedy, is occasionally touched with an engaging humanity.
Though the show's energy is high, the actual wrestling looks way too innocuous. There's no attempt to make the action look real. How about breaking a few matchstick chairs over some of the wrestlers' heads?