by Lynn on March 5, 2018

in The Passionate Playgoer


At the Factory Studio Theatre, Toronto, Ont.

Charlie Kerr
Photo: John Gundy


Written by Bryce Hodgson and Charlie Kerr

Directed by Bryce Hodgson

Set by Bryce Hodgson

Costumes by Allie Dunbar

Lighting by Jacq Andrade

Sound by Miss Langley

Cast: Gabe Grey

Charlie Kerr

Libby Osler

Anthony Shim

Such a disappointment when one considers this company’s previous production here was the wild and creative Kill Your Parents in Viking, Alberta. After Wrestling is laboured in its efforts to be funny and no character is clearly thought out. A more critical eye is needed to cut and shape this effort.

The Story. To quote the press information:  “After Wrestling is a slacker-comedy turned suicide-mystery in search of love, life, and death.  Hogan and his sister Leah navigate old flames, new relationships, and their mental health in a booze- and grief-fuelled debate after the suicide of Hogan’s best friend Gibby.”

There is a cop named Jaggy who comes to Leah’s house to investigate a complaint. Her brother Hogan is staying with her since his relationship with his girlfriend has broken up. Hogan is also grieving over the suicide of his friend Gibby. But each character has secrets from each other, which in the case of the brother, sister and Gibby is a reeeeeeal stretch.

Or as I would describe it, “desperate to be funny, loud, frantic, drivel.”

After Wrestling by Bryce Hodgson and Charlie Kerr is about a group of misfits, also looking for love, but doing it in a frantic, almost frenzied way, that isn’t very helpful.

The Production. Bryce Hodgson’s set of Leah’s apartment is very detailed, with shelves on the wall for spices, etc. and other components of a kitchen up stage. But it is also odd, in that we are looking at it, stacked up, with the living room downstage and behind it is the kitchen, not spread across the stage to see the various components of it clearly.


Bryce Hodgson directs this at a high, yelling pitch for the most part. Charlie Kerr also plays Hogan who doesn’t seem to have a credible thought. I have no idea what kind of humour this is supposed to be: slapstick, farce, just witless? Dunno.

After Wrestling by Bryce Hodgson and Charlie Kerr is about a group of misfits, also looking for love, but doing it in a frantic, almost frenzied way, that isn’t very helpful.

I thought the play could/should end three times—that’s bad writing. If two characters end a relationship then why bring them together again in another scene to end the relationship again?

The cast deliver what can be seen as stream of consciousness dialogue. Quick, toneless, nonfluctuating voice. Wearying.

Comment. The two writers, Bryce Hodgson and Charlie Kerr, are so desperate to be hip and accessible to millennials they seem to have forgotten to write a play with characters that have depth and believability. There are four characters in it and no one seems to have any kind of real relationship that anyone else knows about.  Leah and Hogan (the brother and sister) don’t even seem to be in the same world they have so many secrets from each other.  They are selfish, self-centred, not fully developed either as characters or recognizable people.

I’ve seen this company, Blood Pact Theatre, before and liked their work. It was for a play called Kill Your Parents in Viking, Alberta.  It was very funny in a wild, weird way, but certainly had credible characters and an intriguing story. I said then of the company:  “this is a group of young, emerging artists, many of them from out west who have settled here.  Make them feel welcome.  We want them back with more mayhem.” I meant it.

But their next production here is After Wrestling and it’s a self-indulgent miss-step. Come back with something better, please.

Produced by Blood Pact Theatre with the support of Storefront Theatre in association with Factory Theatre.

 Opened: March 1, 2018.

Closes: March 18, 2018.

Running Time: 2 hours 15 minutes.

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