publicity photo for Jack Goes To TherapyMaybe I’m jaded or maybe, at this point in my long gay life, I just don’t personally need Jack Goes to Therapy. That’s no knock on the material itself of course. And to be clear: I admire the skill that’s on display. In this solo comedy, writer/performer Zac Williams plays Jack, a kindergarten teacher whose boyfriend left him for another guy just before Jack was about to propose to him. When we meet Jack, it’s three months after the dumping: he’s still longing for his ex and throwing himself into a compulsive quest for new romance. As his story unfolds, he ends up in a therapist’s office wondering how to escape his spiral. Some of the comedy arises from the absurdity of Jack’s compulsion. When he goes for an STI check-up and the taped voice of a nurse says, “I don’t think you have any reason to be concerned,” Jack replies, “Why? Do you think they’ll break up?” And, at the performance I attended, a lot of the laughs coming from the audience were responses to the frank acknowledgement of the realities of some men’s approach to gay sex: the promiscuity, the dick pics. Within all the colours of identity, lots of us love frank sex talk, of course, and, I may be wrong, but my sense was that, the laughter of some of the younger homos in the audience was enhanced by the joy of longed-for representation. That’s all great, but I’ve been out for 54 years and Jack Goes to Therapy didn’t serve any of these purposes for me, so I found a lot of the show’s thematic content familiar and kind of boring. That’s probably why I personally had more fun with the voices of Jack’s kindergarten students: “Jason put a crayon down his pants and he’s not wearing any underwear!” I got frustrated with Jack’s closetedness: although he’s a twenty-nine-year-old urban homo, when we meet him, he’s not out to his coworkers or his roommate’s sublet. That does set up the best pay-off in the script, however: when Jack finally embraces his vulnerability, he receives the gift of the vulnerability of others — and it’s moving. Throughout, Williams — impressively — keeps things bubbling at the pace of a brisk brook. Jack didn’t hook me, but most of the audience gave it a standing ovation.

At Ballet BC. Remaining performances on September 10 (9:15 pm), 11 (8:45 pm), 14 (6:45 pm), 16 (5:00 pm), and 17 (2:45 pm). Tickets

About Colin Thomas

Colin Thomas is a Vancouver-based editor, an award-winning playwright, and an established theatre critic. Colin helps writers unlock the full potential of their novels, short stories, screenplays, and children's books.

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