Better than a rimjob

You’re a pervert. You think you’ve been able to conceal it, hidden beneath that good job and those carefully chosen words, but it’s on display as bare as a rental case. Every filthy thought you’ve ever had is written plainly on your forehead, synopsised obscenity.


You’re a good person. You’ve made mistakes, but we all have–they’re private things, no one’s business but your own. In the end, you’re really not that bad at all, relatively speaking. Liars and filthmongers surround you, but you’ve never sunk to their level.


Right?


Tim (Christian Goutsis) doesn’t care.


It’s been two years, going on three, and he’s just works and reads at this porn store to pass the time. He’s not in a rut–he could be anywhere, but he’s chosen to be the night clerk and protect this corner of his world. He chooses to watch his relationship with his girlfriend Trish (Cherie McMaster) cool, chooses to wax philosophically with a porn aficionado named Kurt (Grant Reddick) who has rented every video in the store, chooses to sign up Mike (Ryan Luhning) for a brand new membership.


Mike is afraid.


It was three years, going on four, and his marriage is missing something. Lisa (Jamie Konchak) suggests renting a video, and so he finds himself divulging everything, including his SIN, for a membership at a porn store. It isn’t long before Lisa’s vocabulary expands from “bum” and “hoo hoo” to “bukakke” and “pegging” and the night clerk has accused him of theft. Suddenly Mike finds himself on display, exposed and violated.


And the audience watches.


Produced by Ground Zero Theatre, Steven Masicotte’s Pervert is a phenomenally dark comedy returning humanity to the much-maligned porn store. From Kurt’s gentle, almost romantic musings on the career of one particularly proficient porn star to Tim’s insistence he’s simply doing a job, the limits between “normal” and “perversion” uneasily melt away.


Driven by a raw and natural script, the interplay between Pervert’s cast moves as easily as a bevy of well-lubricated porn stars. Largely about communication, the play’s striking inclusion of confused fights, stumbling arguments and crisp repartee draws the audience deeply into the increasingly tightly drawn worlds of the personal and the pornographic.


As Tim, Christian Goutsis is at once bemused straight man, frustrated boyfriend and exhausted clerk, displaying an impressive range surprising audiences familiar only with his role in Masicotte’s last production, A Boy’s Own Jedi Handbook. His timing is impeccable and his articulate delivery is ideally suited to the character of the stifled, intellectual clerk. Praise is also due to recent University of Calgary graduate Jamie Konchak, whose sultry, confident Lisa offers a striking contrast to Ryan Luhning’s timid, sexually repressed Mike.


The only disappointment of the production is in the character of Trish. Where Pervert’s other characters offer dynamic and empathetic perspectives, she stands alone as a one-dimensional foil, seething with a perpetually unsympathetic rage at Tim’s occupation and the resultant emotional distance. Unfortunately, Cherie McMaster adds little to the character, offering little more than monotone delivery and an unchanging expression bordering somewhere between boredom and contempt.


While Stephen Masicotte may have gained more notoriety from sentimental plays like Mary’s Wedding and The Boy’s Own Jedi Handbook, audiences should expect a dark thrill in Pervert. In the move from PG to XXX, Masicotte has found a place where comedy, pornography and humanity can exist in the shadows.

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