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A CurtainUp Los Angeles Review
Palminteri's gripping script translates beautifully into a small, intense confrontation between Margaret (played with no holds barred by Reamy Hall), a suicidal housewife, and the hit man her husband has sent to kill her. The hit man, Tony, is played sympathetically by the gorgeous John Collela, who really doesn't want to kill her, but "has no choice" because he needs the money.
Under the tight direction of Mikey Myers, the Ruskin's managing director, the conversation between the two principals veers from drama to comedy as they negotiate the murder while discussing the pros and cons of fidelity. Tony, who was faithful to his wife for two years ("except for blow jobs, but they don't count.") says "you're faithful when you've got more to lose than to gain." Margaret, who has reached her suicidal state as a result of her husband's continual infidelities throughout their 15-year marriage, comments, "You will do anything for someone you love—--except love him again."
The conversation between these two is so engrossing and the acting so perfect (and that's not easy when you're tied up in a chair, dressed in pajamas and no makeup) that you almost resent the intrusion of a third party, Jack, Margaret's husband (Jim Roof) who makes his entrance in the second act. In his slimy, posturing way, is as fine an actor as the other two, and he adds a fascinating new dimension to the action. The essence of his character is revealed in several brief comments: "There was greatness inside of me," he says, "but I was the only one who knew it." His response to Margaret's plaintive "Can't a woman make a man happy?" is "Yeah, sure—--one he can't have." Tony commandeers the scene by waving his gun around As he puts it: "The one with the gun makes the rules."
The play unfolds in a beautiful living room designed by Siegfried Ackermann and Ryan Wilson, complete with original paintings by Scott Davis Jones, and enhanced by Kathi O'Donohue's lighting design. But the star is Chazz Palminteri's marvelous script which, like the perfomers, doesn't flag for a moment.
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