THE BAD AND THE BETTER
July 8, 2012
Silent dance protests aren't the only outrageous act executed by an anarchist group infiltrated by an undercover police officer and upended by a dastardly political foil. Extreme politics drum up conflicts between corrupt candidates, and unscrupulous billionaires-- law enforcement officials and idealistic zealots.
This is all part of The Amoralists’ exuberant production of Derek Ahonen’s “The Bad and the Better.” Animated direction by Daniel Aukin, allows the uniformly strong cast to tread a fine-line between total caricature and believability. Characters bounce off the walls taut with pent up emotions and single-minded gusto.
In a quirky way, this production resonates truths about fraternities born of law enforcement officials, radicals and politicians. Everyone’s community has its own set of rules and regulations. And even though plenty of sloganeering whips through the stage, real feelings gurgle to the surface.
A fast pistol-fingered, disgraced detective Rick Lang (William Apps) tries to excavate himself from a demoted, mindless desk job and cranky wife. Revered by rookie police officers, his womanizing brother—also a cop-- Chuck (David Nash) poses as a playwright, infiltrates an anarchist group of misfits and gets into lots of other trouble.
There’s the friendly cop-bar hangout and feisty femal bartender, the lusty Betty Boop styled secretary perfectly realized by Sarah Lemp, and lots of hard feelings that pus up into a shoot ‘em out blood bath at the end. The action swirls inside the spare but evocative set by Alfred Schatz and moody lighting by Natalie Robin.
Curling up the edges of theatrical convention at the Peter J. Sharp Theater, The Amoralists strike again.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis