Plays frequently stand alone — theater just doesn’t tend toward the sequels, series and recurring characters often found in TV, film and books. This is one of many reasons to check out this fourth installment of Canadian playwright George F. Walker’s Suburban Motel chain of plays. Last June, B. Someday (Walking Fish Theatre’s producing arm) gave us The End of Civilization and Featuring Loretta in rep, and Problem Child in November. The ironically titled dark comedy Criminal Genius unfolds in the same setting as the other three plays — a dingy motel room on Toronto’s sketchy outskirts — as small-time father-and-son crooks Stevie (Peter Zielinski) and Rolly (Lou Seitchik) hide out, having failed in their mission to burn down a nearby restaurant. Gun-toting, Pepto-swigging leader Shirley (Sarah Robinson) is understandably pissed, while sloshed motel manager Phillie (Arumugavel Nagarajan) just wants his money — and then everything flips when lowly victim Amanda (Gina Martino) takes charge of this sad-sack crew. Director Stan Heleva’s production crackles with a loony fury, navigating the thin line between comic mayhem and visceral violence. See Criminal Genius, and then check back into Suburban Motel in June 2014 for Adult Entertainment and Risk Everything in rep.
Through March 30, $10-$20, Walking Fish Theatre, 2509 Frankford Ave., 215-427-WALK, walkingfishtheatre.com.