2nd Story Theatre's first show of their summer season is the riveting drama "A Few Good Men". The 1992 movie version starred Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore, Keifer Sutherland and Kevin Bacon. Both play and movie versions were written by Aaron Sorkin who won the Academy Award last year for the screenplay of "Social Network" and was nominated again this year for "Moneyball". He has won numerous Emmy Awards for his writing on the TV series "West Wing'. This show is a military courtroom drama. The action of the show takes place in various locations in Washington, DC and at the US Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba in 1986. A hotshot Navy lawyer has been assigned to defend two Marines for complicity in the death of a fellow Marine. The lawyer is more interested in his softball games than in his case. He gets prodded by the female member of his defense team to buckle down to business, finally defending his clients, and putting the military mentality and the Marine code of honor on trial, too. Director Bryna Wortman creates a military base atmosphere and courtroom proceedings, directing her 20 member cast in this electrifying production, winning them a standing ovation at their expertise.
Marilyn Salvatore creates the gorgeous military costumes for this show. Tim White plays the brash young lawyer, Daniel Kaffe who slide his way through his trials because he resents his famous father who was an outstanding lawyer. Tim shows the transition from the wise-cracking, Hawkeye Pierce from "Mash'' to a serious, Perry Mason type lawyer by show's end. He is a brilliant actor capturing the aggressive attorney perfectly, commanding the stage with his acting prowess. This role is one more feather in his cap, doing a fabulous job in this challenging role. His fellow defense lawyers do topnotch work,too with Alex Duckworth as Sam Weinberg and Christina Wolfskehl as Jo Gallaway. He delivers a solid performance in this role, running interference for his friend and giving him a shoulder to lean on. Christina shines as the only woman in the cast with her tough as nails characters. She has many splendid one liners including the one that insults the obnoxious Colonel Jessup's chauvinistic behavior. "What am I supposed to do with the other 59 minutes?'' after he makes a disparaging sexual innuendo to her. Alex and Christina handle the comic and dramatic moments with ease. The prosecutor, the opposing lawyer, Jack Ross is played splendidly by Ara Bohigian. He is a dynamic presence in the show as he prosecutes the two Marine defendants. Ara always delivers 100% in all his roles and this one is no exception. He is especially dynamic in the final confrontation scene with Jessep, while reading him his rights.
A marvelous performance is given by Miles Boucher as Harold Dawson. His voice resonates with its military bearing. Miles frightens the audience with the intensity of his emotions and is impressive with his interactions with the other cast member. Miles is mesmerizing in this show. I reviewed Miles three times in the past six months in "The Sea Gull", "Tartuffe" and "Singing in the Rain" at URI and he delivers a terrific performance whether it be drama, comedy or musical. Harold's fellow defendant, Louden Downey is played by Jona Cedano. He handles this younger, naive Marine wonderfully by showing uncertainty and fear about what the future holds for him. The villains of this piece are the commanding officer Lt. Colonel Nathan Jessep and Lt. Jonathan Kendrick, one of the platoon leaders on the US base in Cuba. Vince Petronio as Jessep gives a multifaceted performance as one of the meanest SOB's around. Jessep convinces people to bend the truth by his iron will. Anyone who defies him is trampled down in the process. Vince's best scenes are the final confrontation with Kaffe. His redneck assistant, Kendrick who always defends his actions by saying God wants it that way, is well played by Kyle Blanchette. He makes this dumb, red neck, man, a truly frightening person by his stupidity and blind loyalty to their motto, "Unit, Corps, God, Country". The code red, a secret command to punish a fellow Marine, is hushed up. However the audience learns what it truly means when it is divulged by the close of the show. Kyle delivers the goods as this demented creature. The other platoon leader Captain Markinson is more heroic in his actions to help Kaffe solve his case. Marlon Carey does a marvelous job in this complex role, keeping you guessing to what his motives are really about. Andrew Iacovelli delivers a sympathetic portrayal of Private Santiago who is the victim in this show. Kudos to the cast and crew on a job well done on this courtroom drama. Be sure to catch this riveting and electrifying "A Few Good Men" before time runs out.