THE BLUE ROOM by David Hare, directed by Anthony Leo, with David Cook and Vanessa Hunt. Presented by Blue and Resurgence Theatre at the Poor Alex (296 Brunswick). Runs to April 1, Wednesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinee Sunday 2 pm. $15, Sunday pwyc. 416-504-7529. Rating: NN Rating: NN
the blue room, david hare's con- temporary adaptation of the classic La Ronde, expands like a sizzling daisy chain of 10 two-person sex scenes, with one partner moving on to couple with someone else in the next episode. Funny, ironic, sexy and cast with only two actors, it's a difficult piece to pull off. The enterprising young artists staging its Canadian premiere are taking a challenging risk, but unfortunately, they don't succeed.
Not only must we see different characters in each scene, but just as importantly we must sense the sexual politics, the subtle power shifts between each couple, part serious and part playful. David Cook leaps from impetuous student to smug politician and then pretentious playwright, but each figure feels the same. Vanessa Hunt is far more successful as, among others, an eager hooker, a shy but flirtatious au pair and a nervous married woman dallying with the student, changing both her look and her temperament to suit the nuanced roles.
Director Anthony Leo starts well with a tone-setting jazz score featuring singer Melissa Stylianou, but he offers his actors little help in searching out the sensuousness and surprises in the fine script. He lost ground from the moment of casting, though, since Cook and Hunt generate little sexual chemistry on which to build this ode to eroticism and orgasm.