Eye Heart Productions brings its second offering to the local theatre scene with Robert Aquirre-Sacasa’s Good Boys and True at the Firehall Arts Centre through September 19th. And while there are some great performances and playwright Aquirre-Sacasa provides us with all the elements for a great scandal, where the show fails to deliver is in delivering a deeper exploration of class, entitlement and any real lessons in morality.
Brandon Hardy (Alex Coulombe), St. Joesph’s prep school jock and all-around-nice-guy, is caught on tape brutally having sex. Trying to keep it “off the radar” and shield Brandon in a misguided good-old-boys mentality, Coach Shea (Greg Bishop) brings the tape to the attention of Brandon’s mother, Elizabeth (Teryl Rothery). At first denying it was him, after all his face is not clearly seen on the video, Elizabeth’s determination to reveal the truth because of her own past transgression, finally forces her from her protective instincts.
Playwright Aquirre-Sacasa focuses primarily on the relationship between mother and son and ultimately how little she really knows about Brandon. While Rothery ably manages her portrayal of a mother trying to deal with the unimaginable, the touchy-feely relationship that Director Jeff Hyslop has given her and Coulombe lacked that tinge of falseness that would have emphasized just how little the mother really does know.
Where the show really shined though is in the relationship between Brandon and gay classmate Justin (Taylor Bishop). Bishop so superbly embodied his character in an early sexually powered bedroom scene that it laid great groundwork for the ultimate rejection that he was to face. Equally as powerful was Cheryl Moody (Claire Robertson), the young girl that seen in the video with Brandon. Robertson does a terrific job as the girl from the “other side of the tracks” bringing a real diversity to her character in both a flashback of that first fateful interaction with Brandon and when she is finally confronted by Elizabeth.
There did appear to be some lighting issues during opening night and we are hopeful that these can be worked out as they become a bit of a distraction; this was particularly true at the end of a number of scenes where the actors are left hanging waiting for the lights to go out. And while I appreciated the use of the 80s music in scene transitions I did wonder why it was done so inconsistently (and the fact that I noticed this bothered me).
While still entertaining, and with great performances from Bishop and Robertson, Good Boys and True fell a little flat without a more in-depth look at some of its more meaningful themes.
Good Boys and True
Continues until Sept 19, 2009
Firehall Arts Centre (280 E Cordova Street)
Monday to Saturday at 8pm with matinees on Saturdays at 2pm
Tickets $24-$29.50 and are available through the Firehall Box Office at 604.689-0926 or online at www.eyeheartproductions.com.