On no account would I recommend DEAD ACCOUNTS, the new project, notice I did not write play, by Theresa Rebeck that is a sometimes amusing, sometimes boring and a totally unfulfilling evening of theatre that features some of Cincinnati Ohio’s specialties that include fresh air, trees, cheese coneys (hot dogs with chili and cheese) and lots of Graeter’s ice cream consumed by the prodigal son on the run. Or is he?
It is here in Ohio that fast talking and spin doctor Jack (a nimble Norbert Leo Butz reprising his favorite comedy routines) has come home to roost after embezzling a mighty sum of money from his banking job in New York.
It is here in the home of his mom (a restrained Jayne Houdyshell) where his plain Jane sister Lorna (an adequate Katie Holmes who has been recruited to sell tickets as a Hollywood Box Office Star) lives and their off stage father is ailing with painful kidney stones that the inaction takes place in this modern day kitchen sink dramedy.
The usually fine director Jack O’Brien seems to not know what to make of this project or how to make it work.
“Pain is good” says the holier than thou Barbara to her children. But it’s torture if you are paying good money to see a half baked play of some good ideas that finds no resolution whatsoever – except for the abrupt mystical changing of the badly designed set by David Rockwell at play’s end.
Those autumnal colored trees that are so vital to the plot are so ugly it’s hard to keep you eyes off of them. It’s as though there is a forest fire raging outside the kitchen doors. And then there is the wall clock – at least they keep changing the time with the annoying scene changes. I notice things like this when the plot and dialogue, as in this case, force my mind to seek some diversion.
Theresa Rebeck comes up empty here in her attempt to compare the values of the people of Ohio with their New York counterparts and her attack on the banking system in Katie Holmes’ one big theatrical moment. No, she has another. When she offers a glass of wine to Jenny (Judy Greer) the soon to be divorced wife of Jack and takes a cardboard box wine out of the fridge that immediately got the audience’s juices flowing.
Jenny has come to get her fair share of the loot. She is from a well to do family and her dad got Jack the job so why is she after the money? Will he give in? Will they get divorced? Will dad die in the hospital? Will Jack’s old high school buddy Phil (an excellent Josh Hamilton) finally ask Lorna out on a date after twenty five years of stalling? Will all that ice cream melt on the table? Who will eat all the pizza in Act II where all gets suddenly serious? Who cares?
DEAD ACCOUNTS plays out like a bad Seinfeld episode that is badly in need of a laugh track. At The Music Box Theatre through February 24th, 2013.
www.DeadAccountsonBroadway.com Photos: Joan Marcus
Tags: No Comments