Review: The Explanation is endearing but questionable

John dresses as a woman and goes to the public library, Dick meets him expecting to find a woman; they begin an uneasy relationship, they get married—but they aren’t gay.

This new show at the Cultch is an endearing, entertaining story of how two men met, formed a relationship, and got married. However, within the same sentence, they also desperately try to impress upon us that they’re straight. It makes the show much more difficult.

Playwright James Fagan Tait is clearly trying to break down ideas of gender and sexuality by exploring the roles people possess and how it shapes their understanding, but then at the same time, he then places too much emphasis on the labels of gay and straight. There are elements of sexism as the men dressed as women ask if their partner will protect them and place very outdated concepts on that of the women’s perspective.

As characters, both John and Dick are much too passive and indifferent to be completely likeable or captivate the audience. Continuing the flub from opening night, Kevin Macdonald (John) required assistance in his monologues which broke the momentum of the show and made it hard to re-engage. Evan Frayne as Dick seemed more comfortable and provided a solid base for the men’s connection, but I was still left with too much indifference to fully accept and appreciate this story or its characters.

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