Volume 93, Issue 40

Wednesday, November 10, 1999


Collector less-than-meaty effort

Bachelor should've been left at the alter

Wild Game makes most of nothing

Voodoo Daddy captivates listeners with classic style

Wild Game makes most of nothing

By Stephanie Truscott
Gazette Writer

This second feature in the Writer's Workshop at the Old Factory Theatre is an examination of the "sport" of hunting, which investigates such themes as man versus man and man versus nature. It also happens to be the most unique play performed in London in a long time.

What makes the effort unparalleled is that it's a one man play which also works as a reading of a brilliant short story. Co-director James G. Patterson originally wrote the tale in the form of a short story, but the Writer's Workshop liked it so much they decided to adapt Wild Game to the stage. The results are outstanding.

Dave Semple is the actor who bravely takes on the challenge of breathing life into the story's five different characters. This is no easy feat, considering Semple had to memorize 32 pages of dialogue.

Aside from his astonishing powers of memorization, Semple proves himself to be an extremely talented and versatile actor. By giving each character their own voice and distinct mannerisms, he manages to sell himself as an extremely entertaining chameleon.

As for the writing, it is nothing short of brilliant. Patterson possesses a gift for cramming his work with vivid sensory detail, creating a world far more real than any set designer could attempt to construct.

In the play, Semple constantly describes the scene of action, whether it be in the forest, near the lake or in the cabin. Through Patterson's elaborate and precise detail, the audience is able to vividly picture the imagery in their minds. Although there is a stage set which is extremely minimalist (a chair, two rocks and a tree stump), there is really no need for it at all.

All in all, Wild Game is a work that eschews the more aesthetic aspects of theatre and concentrates on the basics. Patterson's words and Semple's deeply expressionistic readings are so hypnotically captivating, Semple need not have exuded so much energy in acting them out. However, since he does, it is a real bonus for the audience.

Because it is about so much more than just hunting, Wild Game is destined to appeal to anyone, male or female, who enjoys a masterfully written story that happens to have the most shocking twist-ending since The Crying Game.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999