FLIN FLONNING by Vladimir Jon Cubrt, directed by Aviva Armour-Ostroff (Zocalo Toronto). At the Diesel Playhouse (56 Blue Jays Way). To June 17. $15-$20. 416-971-5656. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Vladimir Jon Cubrt's first play is a charming one-act about Thurman, a luckless loser actor who alienates all the people who love him most.
Thurman, played by the writer himself, can't get a break. His fellow waiter/actor friend Pardo ( Jeff Kassel ) gets a choice role in Meatballs 8. When Thurman's best friend, the haplessly hilarious Meredith ( Melissa Bourne ), admits she carries a torch for our lovable screw-up, Thurman decides to go west to escape his messy life.
The three main actors in this deceptively simple play are well cast. There's something both seductive and irritating, for example, about Kassel's cheesy, flirtatious portrayal of actor Pardo. Cubrt's deadpanning provides just the right balance of comedy and pathos, while Bourne manages to play both straight woman and clown effortlessly.
Flin Flonning is harmless and clever, but like its main character, the script is often paralyzed by indecision. One moment it fancies itself a dark comedy, the next the audience is supposed to feel sentimental about Meredith and Thurman's relationship, which has all the depth of an actor's coloured contacts.
It's all well written, except for the end. The play wants to express something more than 30-something ennui, but it's distracted by being too jokey. While Cubrt is definitely a playwright to watch, his plays might become more interesting when, like Thurman, he decides to truly commit.