WINGÉD by David Tomlinson (Whetstone). At DeLeon White Gallery (1139 College). To May 8. $20, Sunday pwyc. 1-800-838-3006. See Continuing. Rating: NNN
Wingéd has its downs and ups, and that's a good thing.[rssbreak]
David Tomlinson's poetic solo show reinterprets a trio of mythical characters streamed through a queer sensibility. As Icarus, who flew too close to the sun and fell when his waxen wings melted; Lucifer, God's chosen angel, cast out of heaven; and the Phoenix, whose immolation leads to rebirth, Tomlinson takes the audience on a journey that begins with a stomach-churning fall and ends with transcendence.
An engaging performer, Tomlinson works intimately close to the audience under Diana Kolpak's detailed direction, twirling slowly as he speaks to his viewers (in part two, we're among the fallen angels) and echoing the movement of his characters.
The narrative works best in the first two sections, when Icarus talks about his father, his musician lover and a sexy Minotaur, and a hobbling Lucifer does his utmost to impress the father who never seems to get the fact that Lucifer wants to be his favourite son. The writing here is filled with humour, some of it sardonic.
The short Phoenix segment is more esoteric and harder to grasp, though the performance is still appealing. In a tale that involves a predatory uncle, Tomlinson becomes two characters: the abused, confused victim and an inner being whose voice is one of inspiration, not unlike the celestial being in Angels In America. The monologue ends on a note of optimism as Tomlinson turns the future over to us, to choose whether we want to improve it or maintain a not very happy status quo.
The design provides an added lift, with Sharon DiGenova's lighting and Jacob Niedzwiecki's video and imaging lifting us out of our everyday world.
Sit in the first row to best see the visuals.