Outcry Theatre's dark play or stories for boys comes to the Out of the Loop Fringe Festival with an advisory: "for mature audiences only'' due to "adult language and intense sexuality."
That is no casual caveat. This abrasive romp written by Carlos Murillo begins with a bed-spinning sexual encounter between male and female collegians, then moves on to fairly explicit gay male hanky panky. (One of the guys was pretty drunk and may have thought he was with a girl.)
Outcry's stated mission is to provide "highly physical staging, and an energetic and visceral performance style." Director Becca Johnson-Spinos certainly delivers the physical and visceral goods here. There are jerky ritual dance-like moves. There are primal screams of self-loathing.
The chief screamer is Adam Garst, as Nick, a teen-age computer geek who specializes in cruel cyber pranks. His target is Adam (Jacob Aaron Cullum), chosen because he rates high on Nick's "Gullibility Threshhold." Nick invents the girl of Adam's dreams (brought to make-believe life in a winsome and winning portrayal by Lila Flores).
Of course, she and Adam can never meet face to face, so Nick must concoct various excuses and delaying tactics. Things get mean, and violent.
The performance level is high. You admire Garst's acting prowess even as you despise his character. And Daniel Hubbard and Liz Acklin contribute a series of interesting satellite characters. Hubbard is particularly versatile, playing everything from a brutal cyber bully to a flirtatious Asian babe.
There's some nifty visual garnish, designed by Jason Johnson-Spinos and projected onto a rear screen. And Dan Johnson's original music is mood-enhancing.
Despite the quality acting and the fact that it's a timely work, with cyber-bullying making headlines, dark play is 100 minutes out of your life. You're happy when it's over.
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