Review: CRANKED: The ReMix

by Lynn on May 10, 2023

in The Passionate Playgoer

Live and in person at the Studio Theatre, Young People’s Theatre, Toronto, Ont. A Green Thumb Theatre Production. Playing until May 18, 2023.

Written by Michael P. Northey

Directed by Rachel Aberle

Set by Kimira Reddy

Costumes by Melissa McCowell

Lighting by John Webber

Songs and lyrics by Kyprios, Chin Injeti

Cast: Caleb Dyks

Demi Pedersen

Content Advisory:
This play is about a teenager telling his story of drug addiction and eventual recovery. His story confronts the brutal realities of drug addiction and culture including references to situations of violence, crime, illness, overdose and death. There is some coarse language used.

From the show’s information: “Stan, a.k.a. “Definition” was a rising freestyle MC until his life’s passion lost out to his drug habit. Now on the road to recovery and preparing for a comeback, Stan confronts his demons and recounts his harrowing journey through the wild highs and deep lows of addiction. Featuring a live DJ and hip hop, this pulse-pounding sensory experience reveals the realities of addiction and the redemption that can lie in recovery.”

Playwright Michael P. Northey has written an emotion-charged, hard-hitting look into drug addiction, specifically crystal meth. It’s seen from the point of view of Stan, who dreams of being a DJ (his stage name is “Definition”) and gets his dream but then loses it all to drugs. The language is vivid, visceral and so illuminates the swift downward spiral of a young man losing control of his life to drugs, it leaves you breathless.

As Stan, a.k.a. Definition, Caleb Dyks wears sweat pants, a hoodie and a baseball cap. He has a lanky-loose-limbed walk. When he grabs the microphone to do his hip-hop songs he is so comfortable and graceful in the ‘performance’ that his arm jabs the air, his fingers flick for expression. Stan tells his story without sentiment. We see him go through the journey of hell to rock bottom so he can begins his recovery.

Caleb Dyks performs with energy, truth and conviction. He sells all of Kyprios and Chin Injeti’s songs. It’s all effortless. DJ for the show is Demi Pedersen. For the preshow Demi Pederson is almost invisible, just playing song after song with a special hard message about drugs, until the play starts. Then Pedersen acts with compassion.

I saw this with a group of teens from various high schools. It was fascinating watching them watch the show in silence. It got to them as it should. Cranked: The ReMix is an important cautionary tale for our young people with so many drug temptations flipping at them.

A Green Thumb Theatre Production presents:

Plays until May 18, 2023

Running time: 50 minutes.

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