HOCKEY MOM, HOCKEY DAD by Michael Melski, directed by Rosemary Dunsmore, with Irene Poole and David Ferry. Presented by Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst). Runs to December 7, Tuesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinee Sunday 2:30 pm. $21-$28, Sunday pwyc-$21. 416-504-9971. Rating: NNN Rating: NNNNN
michael melski's hockey mom, Hockey Dad contains all the ingredients of a cross-Canada hit. With its cast of two and minimal design requirements, it's inexpensive to produce. Since it's about our national pastime and features two divorced and/or separated adults with kids, it should appeal to both men and women. Apologies for any stereotypes. To be fair, the show, especially in Rosemary Dunsmore 's clean production, is very entertaining, and Irene Poole and David Ferry deliver nuanced performances as, respectively, the newly arrived cautious schoolteacher and the strutting, boisterous custodian who's reworking his own failed dreams on the rink.
I'm not sure, though, that Melski's script can withstand all the metaphorical baggage it's asked to support. Sure, relationships, like skating rinks, include offensive and defensive strategies, and if you don't watch it you can slip, fall and injure yourself.
But there's something cloying and manipulative about the script, which takes aim at poverty, physical abuse and even body image issues without really exploring any of their complexity.
In his favour, Melski doesn't serve up easy answers.
And Dunsmore, helped by Glenn Davidson 's atmospheric set and Steve Marsh 's evocative sound design, convinces us at times that we're eavesdropping on a small corner of a local hockey rink.
If only Melski added a bit more depth and history to his characters, the actors' often brilliant work would score more effectively.