A.C.T. offers a well-crafted, and even occasionally brilliant, production of David Mamet's three-hander
It's not easy tackling the challenge of a Mamet script. Sentences cut off, with characters interrupting one another mid-sentence with the grace of best friends and old married couples. Understandably, this way of talking in an artificial setting can sometimes trip up a cast. They'll pause unnaturally, frightened to run over their cast member's lines. In this production, the cast nails Mamet's signature character banter, bringing a flawless seamlessness to dialogue that hardly just rolls off the tongue.
First among equals is Andrew Polk, who doesn't just play scriptwriter Charlie Fox; it is as if he truly becomes the borderline has-been who is as ruthless and cunning as he is earnest. The increasingly desperate Fox is the longtime pal of Bobby Gould (Matthew Del Negro).who has just landed a sweet gig as head of production for a major Hollywood studio, and the grand plan is to pitch Fox's script to the studio's top executive after a major star unexpectedly signs onto the project.
The next morning, Gould turns the tables and announces that, instead, he will make a pitch based on a suggestion from Karen (Jessi Cambpbell), the office temp he sleeps with the night before. It is a scene that unfolds with heart-stopping, unexpected intensity, and Polk must be commended for taking the audience with him through Charlie's amazing cycle of transformations. He is at one moment the villain, the next a best friend, and, at other points, the underdog you so desperately want to win. Moreso than the men, Campbell has her work cut out for her. Karen is a character that can easily get lost in between the more dominant personalities that characterize Fox and Gould, but the actress holds her own.