The QC Theatre Workshop's Tribes didn't start off well for me on Friday, as I immediately hated Adam Cerny's overacting, with eye rolls so huge I was sure anyone in the lobby could see them through the curtain that separates it from the performance space. So I prepared myself for two hours of such overly dramatic physicality, after first cursing director Jennifer Popple for casting Cerny as a son in playwright Nina Raine's troubled-family saga.
It didn't take long, however, for Cerny to completely change my mind, as it became clear that his Daniel is, himself, over-dramatic, given that his manic figure hears voices in his head. Cerny's characterization, it turns out, isn't bad acting; it's actually spot-on, and moved me from initial dislike - agreeing with Michael Carron's crotchety, opinionated patriarch Christopher that Daniel should "F--- off!" - to sympathetic pity for this troubled person. It was also through Daniel's viewpoint that I experienced Raine's story of a constantly arguing family that cruelly teases each other, with their only sense of grounding coming from Calvin Vo's Billy, the clan's ever-patient, deaf-from-birth younger son.