RUMOURS OF OUR DEATH by George F. Walker, directed by Michael Murphy (Staged and Confused). Tarragon Extra Space (30 Bridgman). To July 29. Pwyc-$20. 416-531-1827. Rating: NNN
Psst- you may not have heard what people are saying, but Rumours Of Our Death is a lively satire whose barbs are as sharp today as they were when the show premiered over a quarter-century ago.
Rumours may be early George F. Walker, but it's filled with the high energy and zig-zagging, funny dialogue of the Suburban Motel series and later works. In the hands of director Michael Murphy and his bouncy cast, this updated version of the text - the newly restored king in an unnamed country here becomes a George Bush type spouting carefully controlled sound bites in front of a White House podium - looks at a country on the brink of war and under the control of foreigners.
Built as a series of blackout scenes, Rumours follows the fortunes of royalty and commoners, zombies, novelists, terrorists, a kidnapped Patty Hearst-like princess and an assortment of others in a country where takeover by the enemy doesn't always involve violence.
The actors, including Scott Clarkson as the initially glib, smooth ruler and Megan Deeks as his food-loving queen, throw themselves into the physical and verbal zaniness; look for bits stolen from Night Of The Living Dead.
The many scene changes are potentially awkward, but Murphy has added 60s and 70s musical interludes with tunes by the Beatles, the Kinks, Quincy Jones and more than a little dopey bubble-gum music; the cast dances up a storm to period choreography.
There's some sharp commentary along with the humour.
Art, politics, spin doctors, gurus and the humanity of our leaders are all comically dissected.
Maybe the play doesn't hold together structurally by the end, but it's sure entertaining while you're watching.