Wednesday 18 April 2012

Into the Wild for middle-age madcap antics

Men depicted as klutzes and wusses seems a neverending source of fun, sport and amusement for writers. As in the clever variation on Lord Berkeley’s conundrum about the sound of a tree falling in the woods : “If a man shouts in the forest and his wife is not there to hear him, is he still wrong?”
And so it is with the Arts Club Theatre’s Into the Wild. The main characters are middle-aged Henry (Andrew Wheeler) and his wife Alice (Susinn McFarlen), with McFarlen reprising the role she originally played in Sexy Laundry back in 2004 by the same playwright, Michele Riml.
In the earlier piece the couple checked themselves into a chichi spa to kickstart their 25-year-old marriage with the aid of the how-to book “Sex for Dummies”.  This was classic dirty week-end stuff to see whether their marriage could survive the blahs brought on by the usual day-to-day stresses, raising kids, and their respective pot bellies and love handles. Obviously it did survive because just like in Poltergeist, “They’re ba-a-a-c-k...!”
Riml says she resurrected Henry and Alice after a dubious camping experience of her own in terrible weather with a friend. So this time Henry and Alice are armed with “Camping for Dummies” and another kitbag of neuroses the ensuing one or two more years together has produced. Obviously this wild they’re venturing into is not just the mosquito patch of mud we all remember “fondly” from our youth – it’s also the kind of unknown wild that happens if you’re 58 and lose your job, your giddy retirement plans go up in smoke and once again you’re poised to lose your marriage unless you find yourselves first. 
Confronting uncomfortable truths about oneself and one’s future while wrapped in the oozy sweet of a s’more promises to be the stuff of this one. 
April 19 – May 26 at the Granville Island stage.  BLR review April 25th.

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