Well… shit. Karma really is a bitch.
In the new locally written play Stuck, by Jonathan Tessier, that’s how many felt leaving The Shadowbox Theatre on the weekend. The 2021 Windsor-Essex Playwriting Contest award-winning story opened to a sold-out crowd, with many not knowing wat to expect at all. There was a sense – nay, a vibe – that this was going to be one hell of a ride.
It’s the thrilling story of four young friends who find themselves trapped by the cascading consequences of their choices. After Joey steals a briefcase full of cocaine from an alley, he convinces his friends Zack, Selena, and Kaitlyn that they should sell it and split the proceeds. But when the briefcase’s owner, Markus, comes looking for it, and things go terribly, terribly wrong.
Despite this being a debut script from Tessier, it’s got hints of being well-seasoned, with touches of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, as well as some interesting character traits that might have come from the books of Trailer Park Boys.
The foul-mouthed play is filled with aggressive language, contentious actions and destructive tendencies, but we wouldn’t want it any other way. It’s a bit like watching a two-act time-bomb geared up to explode. Will it? You’ll have to find out for yourself, but remember karma can, and usually is, a bitch.
Much like the TV show Friends, it features a dysfunctional group of rag-tag warriors just trying to live life. Except in this life, they don’t quibble over Jean Claude Van Damme, it centres around a very profitable briefcase full of coke.
The ensemble cast is really comfortable exploring the darker side of their existence through the characters – almost too comfortable. Featuring a group with few newer or rarely seen faces, the show includes Luke Boughner as Joey, Ezra Poku-Christian as Zack, Rebecca S. Mickle as Selena, Camryn Kingsley as Kaitlyn, and an overly angry Joey Ouellette as Markus, who enters the scene to recover his lost goods.
Kingsley was incredibly fun to watch as the ditzy one in the group. Her innocence was free-flowing and almost intoxicating, but underneath the frothiness, she may have been the most level-headed of the group. Boughner seemed to enjoy being a poverty-stricken bonehead, Poku-Christian played well to my logical side and Mickle opened up a can of whoop-ass like I’d never seen before. A formula that as I write this, sounds more and more like a gritty version of Friends, but with tons more attitude, quite a few more weapons and a fuck of a lot of swear words.
It’s a really enjoyable play with a killer cast, a decently written script from a local boy, and some blood, sweat and certainly a few tears. And if you’re a firm believer in karma, what else can I say, but… shit!
Stuck continues its run at The Shadowbox Theatre for two more weekends on October 7, 8, 9, 13, 14 and 15. Tickets are available at postproductionswindsor.ca.