Andrew Bailey tells a great story. In his one-man show, The Adversary, we learn about his experience looking after an inner-city church: needles amidst Easter Egg hunts, tattooed street preachers, vagrants asleep on the grass. Out of his story come some great questions about justice, about God, about our own duty and compunction to help people around us. It’s some rich material with which to grapple for sixty minutes, and this is a definite strength of The Adversary.
The production is billed as “Woody Allen stuck in The Wire”, and I think it’s a fitting description. To his credit, Bailey is completely engaging and never ever goes down the path of preachy righteousness. He is likeable and focused on his story. We meet a motley crue of characters in Bailey’s world, but they are filtered through our host; he doesn’t adopt voices, or stances or mannerisms to bring them to life, he just moves to a different part of the stage, changes his rhythm ever so slightly, and off we go. And I think that’s okay. Sometimes, though, I felt The Adversary tried to straddle the middle ground between a zippy one-man-show and your classic, simple telling of a well-spun tale, without ever fully embracing either. There’s something refreshing about someone fully engrossed in and committing to telling you their story for an hour, without unnecessary movement to different parts of the stage or superfluous lighting cues. Especially when it’s a story as interesting as Bailey’s.
Only 4 shows left at the Tarragon Extra Space (30 Bridgman Ave.) For tix click here or call: 416-966-1062.