RISK EVERYTHING by George F. Walker, directed by Grzegorz Jarzyna (New World Stage/Luminato). At McBride Cycle (2923 Dundas West). To June 10. $50. 416-973-4000. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Polish director Grzegorz Jarzyna has obviously taken his cue from the title Risk Everything , one of the more explosive works in George F. Walker 's Suburban Motel series. He and his brave troupe of actors risk a lot in this production, resulting in a memorable and evocative if sometimes unfocused site-specific production.
Performed in the cleared-out McBride Cycle space in the Junction, the show situates the audience inside the store facing the window and street. The characters enter via the main door, and the outside traffic and noise add a lot to the production's gritty, urban, wildly unpredictable feel. The blond-wigged alcoholic mom, Carol ( Aleksandra Konieczna ), hiding after attempting to scam a brute named Steamboat of some $68,000, draws her daughter Denise ( Agnieszka Podsiadlik ), her son-in-law R. J. ( Jan Drawnel ) and a hapless trick named Miki-Fucky ( Piotr Rogucki ) into a dangerous scheme. The plot's as confusing as the performers' thick Polish accents and projected English surtitles. The real excitement comes from Jarzyna's staging, which gets characters bouncing on beds, peeing into toilets and occasionally mimicking intercourse. (Watching the reactions of passersby adds to the fun.)
Occasionally, Jarzyna will stop the action entirely, blast out some heavy metal, a James Bond theme or (least effectively) Chinese opera on the speakers, and let the actors rip into some improvised-looking dance.
Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't, just like the additions of pop culture references to, for instance, The Sopranos.
What's also surprising is how existential Walker's dialogue sounds when spoken in Polish. But all that pales next to the sight of a burly man pulling up in an Explo