The Bay Street Theatre offers a polished production of David Mamet's funny if somewhat over-the-top courtroom farce.
Mamet gives a satiric twist on everything from our justice system to politics, homosexuality, pedophile priests and religious prejudice. Even Shakespeare isn't safe from the disillusioned mouths of the wacky characters gracing the stage. And as in much of Mamet's work, Romance has most of its characters spouting horribly offensive lines that average people often think -- but that few of them actually say.
As the insane Judge at the center of the action, Richard Kind -- with his schlumpy appearance, furrowed brow, and cartoonishly wide mouth -- manages to hit all the right marks, even with questionable quips like "Abraham Lincoln was a Jew. Just look at the photographs!"
Then there's Reg Rogers as the energetic defense attorney, who practically slings slander at his own big-eyed, deceptive client (played by Joey Slotnick) by saying "You people can't order a cheese sandwich without mentioning the Holocaust."
The rest of the cast is just as fine, including Chris Bauer, Matt McGrath (who bares all but a select few inches of his skinny frame), and Darrell Hammond, whose subtle turn as the passive Bailiff is a perfect foil for Kind's loud lunacy.
The climactic finale goes a bit over the top, which is what Mamet most likely intended. And if the play lacks even an ounce of poignancy, as some audiences might wish for, it's rarely short on humor.