Christian Murray’s Bone Boy throws a hungry dog a pile of bones.

(Image from http://www.twisitheatreblog.com/archives/1191)

By Max Winkelman

Bone Boy is a play about a 37 year old with the mind of a child. This leads to a lot of slapstick humour and at face value seems very much like an Adam Sandler movie, but to consider it just that would be a gross underestimation.

Bone Boy is a crowd-pleaser, between the slapstick humour and cleverly written lines it’s sure to have something for everyone. My colleague complained afterwards of a sore jaw from laughing.

If you’re open to it, however, the play will make you think in between the laughs. Deep down, Bone Boy is a very sad story. It explores themes of coping with guilt and grief. The part of the father, Alec Bateman (played by Brian Heighton), is especially interesting. In his struggle, he ends up trying to physically kill (in a metaphorical sense) his “immortal” guilt and ultimately has to confront what happened in order to achieve closure.

Michael McPhee (playing Anthony Bateman/Bone Boy) creates a captivating  and engaging character with a crazed look in his eyes that he very successfully maintains throughout the entire play.

The tooth fairy, (Annie Valentina), and her affair with Anthony is an especially clever device to make the audience aware of the imaginary and Anthony’s association with imaginary. Valentina is excellent at holding the audience’s attention while she is on stage.

Mary-Colin Chisholm, portraying Anthony’s mother, provides great laughs and manages to take the focus away from the dark father/son dynamic. Her character also introduces the topic of religion which lets the play explore a wider range of topics.

Jonny Thompson and Ashley Pike, playing the W.T. Mighty characters, give it everything but through no fault of their own the characters are annoying, distracting and mainly seem to be on stage to move props as the roles have little comedic or thematic value.  Thompson and Pike must be commended, however, for what they do with what they are given.  

I would encourage you to go and see Bone Boy as it can provide you with great laughs and may very well leave you thinking.

Bone Boy plays until Sunday June 3 at 8pm, with a 2pm matinee on June 3, at the North Street Church (North and Fuller Terrace).   Tickets are $25 and $15 for students, seniors and artists at 401-8202.

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