FISHWRAP by David Macfarlane, directed by Andy McKim, with John Jarvis. Tarragon (30 Bridgman). Runs to May 1, Tuesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinees Saturday-Sunday 2:30 pm. $23-$28, Sunday pwyc-$15. 416-531-1827. Rating: NN Rating: NN
Voice is central in a writer's work, says Vogel, the central figure in David Macfarlane 's Fishwrap . But by the end of the 75-minute performance, all we've been given are the several voices in Vogel's head; he himself never becomes a character whose feelings resonate truthfully, nor do we care about him.
And there should be lots to care about. We meet him in the disorder of his expensive house renovations, soon after his wife has left him and he's been let go by the newspaper for which he's freelanced. Maybe worst, his three-speed bike's just been stolen.
But as Vogel picks over the events of the past weeks, considering it as material to spin a story, Macfarlane treats us to words, not a fleshed-out figure. Director Andy McKim keeps actor John Jarvis jumping so frantically around Sue LePage 's realistic, detailed set, it seems the performer might fall through the floorboards.
There are some clever postmodern nods to the difficulties of writing - when and where to begin a tale, how to centre it, what tense to use - and Jarvis's performance is certainly committed.
But the in-joke jibes at a newspaper giving ink to sections on trends and leisure rather than news are tepid and predictable, while the semi-poetic, sentimental reminiscences about a rose-hued past are flat rather than moving.