‘SKIN FLICK’, even better than “Porn on the web” 4

Review by Danny GaisinreviewerDGcolor
               Come on – admit it…we all check out the occasional blue-movie capsule via the internet and so what if we do. Prolific Canadian playwright Norm Foster’s “SKIN FLICK” comedically looks at the cottage-business aspect of creating such a work-of-art, and WEST’s Yo Mustafa brings us a hilarious 2½ hours of pure (and moral) entertainment. There were some moments when this writer was actually concerned about a bladder mishap due to the hilarity being presented on stage.

(r) Pointet; Dametto & Balaz. (f) McCarthy & Canjura IN the movies

(r) Pointet; Dametto & Balaz. (f) McCarthy & Canjura IN the movies

The somewhat familiar plotline (think Night shift, Weird Science; etc.) deals with a suburban couple and their single neighbor. All three are unemployed due to bad luck. A misread DVD title; an erroneously-addressed singing messenger who gets pink-slipped, and finally the most un-stereotypical bookie comprise the entire cast. Using the vehicle of direct elocution to the audience, one of the characters acts as narrator, even humorously censoring (bleep!) any scatological adjectives; much to the consternation of the other cast-members emoting the swear words. It takes great acting skill to present & do these bits without giggling.

Mustafa includes his usual meticulous attention -to-detail that allows his actors to extract every emotional nuance that the writer incorporates into dialogue. Even the pause durations help accentuate the impact of a bon mot or phrase. The audience-narratives are superbly enhanced by ‘freeze-framing’ the others on-stage while Rollie’s character brings us up-to-date. There is even an effective ‘flash-back’ that aces the opening monologue’s humor…something the late Bob Hope utilized in his constant repetition of a ‘groaner’ bit. Balaz’ character has the most similes to impart- all glean audience responses.
The narrator/husband role is played semi-seriously by Joe Balaz. His directed blocking movements, rather than being a distraction, allow on-stage progress to be unhindered. Rollie is everyman; subject to the vagaries of work and married life. We can somehow identify with this portrayal. Dina Dametto is his wife – Daphne, who surprises us with an astonishingly inconsistent ability to think outside-the-box. It’s she who evolves from hausfrau to movie director, even wearing the requisite beret & carrying a clipboard: all that’s missing – a megaphone & “ACTION”.
Pure comedic relief is supplied by Bernard Pointet whose TV cameraman ‘Alex’ is fired for trying to fix the décolletage of a news reporter while on-air, but ends up grabbing out her boob. He’s the pivotal arranger for the making; financing; and familiarity with the porn genre that makes the operation come together. He also gets to drink the most beer! It’s his debt to bookie ‘Byron Hobbs’ that brings nebbishkeit Mauricio Canjura into the action. First, it’s Byron’s potential ‘angeling’ that’s needed… then it’s his selection to be the on-screen stud. Canjura’s monologues as well as his conversations are riddled with double-entendres, each more hilarious and unsubtle than the previous ones. Fortunately, all are presented with an ingenuous straight face. Without blowing (pun intended) too much of the plot; the denouement will evoke memories of the finale of “Young Frankenstein”.
The show belongs to Ashleigh McCarthy whose ‘Jill’ owns every moment after she arrives on stage. Her posture; costumes; sexuality coupled with a certain air of naiveté are enhanced with an amazingly mobile face. One could have no background in English yet could easily decipher her feelings; reactions; & certainly her opinions of everything from positions to financial arrangements. Miss McCarthy wants a Broadway career; O.A.R. will gladly add to her positive resumé.

West End Studio Theatre has a history of top-drawer presentations as well as a collection of our TOP TEN inclusions. “SKIN FLICK” with its functional set; impeccable direction; costumes by Lorraine Cooper-Grenke and marvellous cast certainly makes this another contender.
They’ll all be on stage at The Oakville Centre until Oct. 25th. 905-815-2021

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