Monday, December 12, 2016

CT Theater Review: Other People's Money -- Long Wharf

Karen Ziemba, Edward James Hyland, and Jordan. Photo: T. Charles Erickson
Other People's Money
By Jerry Sterner
Directed by Marc Bruni
Long Wharf Theatre
Through Dec. 18

By Lauren Yarger
What's It All About?
Wall Street takeover king Larry Garfinkle (Jordan Lage) targets Rhode Island's small  New England Wire and Cable, owned by Jorgy Jorgenson (Edward James Hyland) who doesn't want to sell the out-of-date business started by his father (Lee Savage's office set telegraphs just how much the place is behind the times with a manual pencil sharpener and old furniture.

He and Bea (Karen Ziemba), his longtime assistant and long-suffering mistress, enlist Bea's power lawyer daughter, Kate (Liv Rooth), to fend off "Larry the Liquidator," but things don't go quite according to plan, especially when Larry and Kate find themselves oddly attracted to each other. Wire and Cable President Coles (Steve Routman) gets lost in the confusion and might decide to look out for himself, rather than the company.

Playwright Jerry Sterner offers a number of twists and turns before the surprising conclusion. The play, which won the 1989 Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Play seems eerily contemporary given today's political climate and mistrust of Wall Street.

What Are the Highlights?
Marc Bruni directs the talented ensemble. all giving strong performances. David Lander's expert lighting design changes scenes all by itself  --loud musical notes (Sound Design by Brian Ronan) are not needed.

Ziemba breathes some life into Bea. Rooth and Lage have some nice chemistry.

What Are the Lowlights?
Some parts of the story, like Larry's obsession with donuts or a character suddenly singing seem forced.  A very long speech given at the company's annual meeting feels like . . . well, . . . a very long, boring speech at an annual meeting. 

More Information: 
Other People's Money plays through Dec. 18 at Long Wharf Theatre, 222 Sargent Drive, New Haven. Performances are Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 pm; Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 8 pm; Matinees Wednesday and Sunday at 2 pm, Saturdays at 3 pm. Tickets start at $29: 203-787-4282; www.longwharf.org.

Additional credit:
Anita Yavich (costume design)

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Lauren Yarger with playwright Alfred Uhry at the Mark Twain House. Photo: Jacques Lamarre)

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