There’s only one first time to be enjoyed in life while everything else seems to be just a colourless carbon copy of that which came before. BINGO! offers flashback folly for anyone who wishes they could get back to yesterday for one more night together.

The Hook Is In The Monologue

The best thing about Daniel MacIvor’s latest offering is that you don’t have to be an 80s child to enjoy what every generation is drawn to as if some sort of institutional tractor beam was at work seizing high school graduates. Say what you will but reunions are a mandatory exercise that must take place. Although one might regret attending, there’s far greater remorse if it’s missed.

While BINGO! is thin on plot, two primary threads emerge. John Beal stars as Nurk, the most faultless person of the five member Cape Breton crew when he meets up with David Keeley’s Dookie and Dov Mickelson’s Heffer.

A cherished drinking game gets underway in a hotel room and soon they set out for the evening to rekindle 30-year relationships from the past.

In the second story thread, Jane Spidell’s Boots and Sarah Dodd’s Bitsy are examples of how small town personalities can co-exist gracefully when left unchecked. Life hasn’t provided either of these gals the luxuries they dreamed of but none of that seems to matter on this special night.

Jukebox hits (far better than anything that surfaced in Rock of Ages) smartly separate the scenes to give the comedy much needed reference points in a play that doesn’t boast the playwright’s same level of signature wit, clever banter or heartfelt compassion of his other stories. That’s because Daniel MacIvor writes from different places and bypasses the urge to exceed himself with each presentation that reaches the stage. This only adds to the richness of a distinct repertoire.

But despite no rising action, no climax and no resolve there’s a lot to reflect on when brief monologues comment on happiness and how life can take an unfamiliar shape but be exactly the same. It’s almost as if MacIvor makes the point ‘don’t ever forget what it was like to feel’ while posing the question ‘If I don’t want to be what my friends are, then what am I?’

Reunions of any kind always hinge on high expectations that rarely, if ever, leave anyone truly satisfied. BINGO! is about nostalgia and friendship, the lives we live now and the one’s we left behind.

You don’t have to want to Wang Chung Tonight to welcome an evening with these imperfect shots and lager misfits but it certainly helps if you do.

Review by Jordan Allystair

BINGO! By Daniel MacIvor May 3 – June 10, 2014 Factory Theatre 125 Bathurst Street, Toronto Tickets $23.00 – $38.00 * 416 504-9971 CAST John Beale, Sarah Dodd, David Keeley, Dov Mickelson, Jane Spidell DIRECTOR Nigel Shawn Williams

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