Popcorn
Theatre Vertigo, 306-0870

Through Oct 15

What if Natural Born Killers director Oliver Stone returned from Oscar night to find his mansion under siege by the real Mickey and Mallory? What if Quentin Tarantino found himself trapped in a debate with an actual ear-slicing maniac? That's the premise of Popcorn, the play by British comedian-turned-playwright Ben Elton that is now playing at the Russell Street Theatre.

Bruce Delamitri (Ted Schulz) is a popular director, who makes violent, intellectually pretentious movies. Bruce has a lot on his plate, including criticism from the media for the copycat murder spree inspired by his most recent film, Ordinary Americans. But upon returning from the Oscar ceremony, Bruce finds that the Mall Murderers Wayne Hudson (Ben Plont) and Scout (Laura Faye Smith), have taken over their idol's house, with a scheme to use Bruce to escape justice. This is a clever premise, and Popcorn can be very funny.

In a way, though, the play is a little too clever, sometimes getting bogged down in narrative machinations. Is Bruce responsible for the violence that erupts in the wake of his movies? Is any artist responsible for the effect of a work? If not, well then, why aspire to be an artist? These questions are addressed, but not with the sparkle or the challenging clash of difficult ideas that we hunger for.