Starring Jason Collett, Jessica Huras, Mikey Lipka. Written by Sam Shepard and Patti Smith. Directed by Esther Jun. Cameron House, to Feb. 14.
Patti Smith and Sam Shepard are having a moment: She’s making a rare appearance at the AGO in March in conjunction with a solo exhibition; his plays are being mounted by Toronto theatre companies of every size. Right now, Broken Social Scene’s Jason Collett is making his theatrical debut in Cowboy Mouth, the play that Shepard and Smith co-wrote in 1971, during their time shacked up at the Chelsea Hotel while they were having a torrid affair. Although Collett looks every bit the tortured rocker-wannabe Slim (based on Shepard), and Jessica Huras is an apt raven-haired waif as Slim’s abductor Cavale (a Smith avatar), the meandering script proves to be far out of the range of both actors. What results is a lot of amateurish stomping, crawling, ranting, mumbling, and two characters that are about as grounded as a crow in mid-flight.