Years ago, sultry-voiced pop singer Peggy Lee sang a very cynical and dark-hued "art" song head-snappingly written by Leiber and Stoller - a songsmith duo better known for a slew of classic rock 'n' roll pulse-lifters. The song in question, entitled: Is That All There Is, chimed chorus lyrics which immediately came to mind after seeing Daniel MacIvor's Wild Abandon.
"Is that all there is? Is that all there is? If that's all there is Well let's keep on dancin' Break out the booze an' Have a ball If that's all there is."
Boyish actor Kyle Gillis masterfully stands in for "Stevie", a pudgy, fumble-brained man-child perhaps in his early twenties whose maturing process hit an insurmountable speed bump round about 17 years of age. In a series of snappy, sometimes comical confessional or observational outbursts (separated by blackouts), "Stevie" weighs in on the likes of social dancing, life options including suicide - given the visual of "Stevie" atop a chair inserting his head through a hangman's noose, being Roman Catholic ("whether you like it or not"), self-worth ("I am so full of beauty I could "), the fun side of abusing the family pet, defecation ("Shit in your ears, in your toilet; makes us all humble; keeps us all the same; that's fuckin' encouraging."), fellatio and love and yadda, yadda, yadda. MacIvor, a brilliant wordsmith and clever clever playwright, easily nails the hurried language spew and A.D.D. abrupt subject shifts common to stolidly ordinary, banal twenty-something. feckless male naifs. I took Wild Abandon to be a MacIvor character sketch poised for one of his usual clever clever twists to give "Stevie" something more profound, insightful or memorable to excite us in his monolgue. During the play's running, I felt I was playing the role of a social worker at work to listen to the same-old, same-old troubled kids outpourings heard on a daily basis, day in; day out. "Is that all there is? Is that all there is? If that's all there is, well, let's keep dancin'. Let's break out the booze an' have a ball; if that's all there is."
Showtimes at the Khyber 2: Thurs Sept 4 at 8:15; Fri Sept 5 at 10:30; Sat Sept 6 at 4:30. Sun Sept 7 at 5:3045 minutes $7.00 PG