Starring Daniel MacIvor, John Beale. Directed by Dean Gabourie. Written by Daniel MacIvor. Stratford Studio Theatre, to Sept. 16.
In Daniel MacIvor’s latest play, The Best Brothers, eponymous siblings Kyle and Hamilton Best are a blood-related Odd Couple—at each other’s throats even as they work to accept their mother’s death. But, to borrow a line from Mary Poppins, they’re missing the spoonful of sugar to help the bitter medicine (of loss and familial dysfunction) go down. Hamilton (MacIvor) is an architect in a failing marriage and likes things neatly categorized. His brother, Kyle (John Beale), is a sentimental, flamboyant gay man who’s dating a sex worker. MacIvor tries to add dimensions to these stock characters as the play progresses, but instead, they fall back on lazy one-liners, predictable plot twists, and heavy-handed thematic symbolism. The sole saving grace is of the four-legged variety: In a series of monologues, the two characters don a hat and gloves to channel their late matriarch as they describe her only experience of true love—through her relationship to her Italian greyhound, Enzo. This play could use a little less man, and a little more of man’s best friend.