Theatre review: Armed is frantic and loud

For most men the very act of watching another being kicked in the balls is enough to induce sympathy pains.  Watching it happen for a full hour is downright cruel.

Darren Boquist in Armed. Photo by Ashley Wallace. Okay, to be honest there isn’t 60 minutes of ball kicking going on in the Xua Xua Productions original comedy Armed, but at times it had the same effect.

Office worker Joe (Darren Boquist in the photo right by Ashley Wallace) thinks he has it all: a decent job and a seemingly good, albeit secret, relationship with one of his co-workers.  When the tables are turned though and he loses both a promotion and the girl, Joe doesn’t go postal, he gets a cannon arm.

If it all seems a bit silly it is.  In this original script by Dani Bryant and Andrea Loewen, Joe’s metaphorical castration becomes a satirical exploration of what it really means to be a man.  Problem is that Joe’s exploration is repeated for much of the play whether it be in bootcamp or in his quest for his new fire-arm.

Nothing in small measures here, Francine Dulong directs her three actors (Boquist, Ky Scott and Munish Sharma) with a frantic pace and usually not without a lot of volume.  Boquist is unstoppable and I found myself exhausted watching him run around the sparse set.

Other than Boquist, who plays the single role of Joe, Scott and Sharma play multiple roles.  Sharma is particularly good in his various characterizations, giving each a suitable persona.  Scott played most of her characters with a single volume.

That this 60 minute play originated from a 20 minute piece at last year’s Neanderthal Arts Festival begs the question if it deserved the extra  minutes.  While some of the antics felt like homage to Monty Python, overall it was like an SNL skit that doesn’t know when to end.

2 1/2 of 5 Stars Armed

By Dani Bryand and Andrea Loewen.  Directed by Francine Dulong.  A Xua Xua Productions presentation.  On stage at the Pacific Theatre through Saturday, July 21, 2012.  Visit http://xuaxuaproductions.com for tickets and information.

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