Summerworks Play Review: The Physical Ramifications Of Attempted Global Domination, August 5

Toronto – To be honest, this play was a bit of a mess.  It had it’s enjoyable moments for sure, but it was kind of all over the place.  This may have been intentional, but it still made for an uneven theatre experience.

So what’s the meaning behind the long winded title?  I think the description given on the Summerworks website probably sums it up best:

 In exploring the mysterious and bountiful medical ailments suffered by many of history’s most aggressive global dominators, we will get under the skin to probe the pitfalls of supposed strength.

And there you have it.  In The Physical Ramifications of Attempted Global Domination, playwrights Nika Mistruzzi and Aurora Stewart de Peña offer up the basic premise that eight men from throughout history, all of them responsible for many deaths in one way or another, are placed in a contest of sorts where each pleads his case for being named the strongest man in history.  Strangely though, the supposed inspiration for the title, the actual physical effects that such a life could have on an individual, is not touched upon nearly as much as you would think.  Instead, we mostly see them bickering amongst one another, saying “real talk” repeatedly, and generally acting goofy.  There are also lots of random scenes of them doing things like performing musical numbers or weird dance routines with balloons which were sometimes amusing, but didn’t really add anything substantial.

Another interesting twist in this performance was the fact that the entirely male cast of characters were played by an all female cast.  I’m not really sure if there was any deeper meaning intended in this choice or if they did it just because they thought it would be funnier.  On a side note, every time I looked at Mistruzzi as Hitler, I couldn’t help but think of Girl Hitler from The Venture Brothers.

While I did find the play to be fairly uneven, I do have to give the writers kudos for the many bits of historical information they throw in there and the obvious amount of research that muct have gone into it.  In addition, I found the cast to be all quite likeable, which is saying something when they’re all playing a bunch of not very nice guys.  If only they had slightly stronger material to work with, I would have enjoyed it all a lot more.

The Physical Ramifications of Attempted Global Domination runs through Sunday August 14th as part of SummerWorks. Check the website for schedule and tickets.

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Posted on by Paul in Everything, Summerworks

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