The premise is simple; two friends have just finished the overnight shift in one of Toronto’s 24 hour restaurants and are cracking open a bottle of wine to relieve their stress – we can all relate. Inspired by the pair’s seven-year friendship plus their experiences with people outside of the LGBTQI+ community asking non-PC questions such as “is it okay to say the word ‘QUEER’ now?” self confessed millennials Nick and Jess of Theatre Tropikos seek to discuss appropriate and appropriated terms used by the public in every conversation and whether or not these terms have any place in modern liberal society.
The show at points seems thrown together, it literally had the two performers drinking from a bottle of wine while firing Gilmore Girls-style dialogue at each other at an incredibly rapid pace, but Wordplay still manages to find a refreshing and brave commentary on how, as young people, we use our privilege to ignore history and casually use slang terms in everyday conversation that not so long ago would have cause major offense. Watching Nick and Jess discuss whether gay men or women have suffered more during history and why calling a girl a bitch is damaging and derogatory, one couldn’t help but feel that you were getting a glance into their usual Saturday night antics with the copious amounts of booze, 'tittie slaps', fallouts and powerful reconciliations where the couple agree that listening to people different from oneself is the key to overcoming oppression.
Jess and Nick’s love for each other, as well as their art, is clear from the off. From the moment the audience steps into the performance space we’re welcomed as old friends and asked to have a seat where Jess and Nick get to know every single person in the room. The use of dark comedy and shocking vocabulary sometimes falls flat however, this reviewer suspects it may be due to being from Scotland where every second word is an offensive word. The actors themselves were the first to admit that they received different reactions to the production every time they performed it in a new location. The overall humour and wit of the show shines through and you leave feeling like you’ve caught up with some old friends rather than watching a piece of theatre. The warmth and love that radiates from this piece makes up for it’s shortcomings. Best watched with a level of alcohol in the system. On until 26th August. - Ryan Laskey