Friday, July 11, 2014
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Review: THE FAT CAT KILLERS

Toby Zinman found THE FAT CAT KILLERS to be a weak satire about desperate workers and the heartlessness of big corporations.

Review: THE FAT CAT KILLERS

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By Toby Zinman

For the Inquirer

Dumb and Dumber’s adventures in corporate America: Adam Szymkowicz’s new comedy, The Fat Cat Killers, couldn’t be better timed, what with protests against the money establishment making headlines from sea to shining sea. Flashpoint Theatre Company’s  production offers three excellent performances and satiric, if naïve, insights into the heartlessness  big business.

Scene One opens with Steve (Robert DaPonte) making a pitch to his boss: “I think with more responsibility and more money I can be the best Steve I can be.” Once he’s fired, as is his pal Michael (Sean Lally), they cook up a plan to get both revenge and money. The problem, with both the plan and the play, is that they’re stupid slackers and seem more like middle schoolers wearing bad ties.

When Dave (Damon Bonetti), the CEO, arrives in the play,  it is a relief (and therefore counterproductive to the show’s message) since he actually seems to be an adult and have a brain. That he is a manipulative creep goes without saying. The revenge plot goes from ridiculous to violent. This then leads to a good deal of speechifying about the oppression of the workers.

Directed by Noah Herman, with a set by Thom Weaver providing a wall of boxes which are then pointlessly tossed around,  the show, even at ninety minutes, goes on too long and seemed structurally flawed.

The friend who joined me for the show does in fact work for a big corporation, and she found The Fat Cat Killers both accurate and hilarious; she had a murderous gleam in her eye by the end of the evening. 

This comedy may provide you with some ballast for the very  serious ideas in current productions all around town: evolutionary biology (The How and the Why), philosophy (New Jerusalem), abstract expressionism (Red), not to mention the horror and suffering in both The Diary of Anne Frank and Our Class.  And then again, it may not.

 

Flashpoint Theatre Co. at the Second Stage at the Adrienne, 2030 Sansom St. Through Nov.19. Tickets $5-20. Information: 215-665-9720 or www.flashpointtheatre.org

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About this blog
Toby Zinman's night job since 2006 is theater critic for the Inquirer. She also is a contributing writer for Variety and American Theatre magazine. Her day job: Prize-winning prof at UArts, author of four books about four playwrights (Rabe, McNally, Miller, Albee), and doer of scholarly deeds (winner of five NEH grants, Fulbright lecturer at Tel Aviv University, visiting professor in China). Her 'weekend' job as a travel writer provides adventure: dogsledding in the Yukon, ziplining in Belize, walking coast-to-coast across England, and cowboying in the Australian Outback.


Wendy Rosenfield has written freelance features and theater reviews for The Inquirer since 2006. She was theater critic for the Philadelphia Weekly from 1995 to 2001, after which she enjoyed a five-year baby-raising sabbatical. She serves on the board of the American Theatre Critics Association, was a participant in the Bennington Writer's Workshop, a 2008 NEA/USC Fellow in Theater and Musical Theater, and twice was guest critic for the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival's Region II National Critics Institute. She received her B.A. from Bennington College and her M.L.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. She also is a fiction writer, was proofreader to a swami, publications editor for the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and spends all her free time working out and driving people places. Follow her on Twitter @WendyRosenfield.


Jim Rutter has reviewed theater for The Inquirer since September, 2011. Since 2006, he covered dance, theater and opera for the Broad Street Review, and has also written for many suburban newspapers, including The Main Line Times. In 2009, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded him a Fellowship in Arts Journalism. Thames & Hudson released his updated and revised version of Ballet and Modern Dance in June, 2012. From 1998 to 2005, he taught philosophy and logic at Drexel, and then Widener University. He also coaches Olympic Weightlifting for Liberty Barbell, and has competed at the national level in that sport since 2001.


Merilyn Jackson regularly writes on dance for The Inquirer and other publications. She specializes in the arts, literature, food, travel, and Eastern European culture and politics. In 2001, she was dance critic in residence at the Festival of Contemporary Dance in Bytom, Poland; in 2005, she received an NEA Critics’ Fellowship to Duke University’s Institute for Dance Criticism. She likes to say that dance was her first love but that when she discovered writing she began to cheat on dance. Now that she writes about dance, she’s made an honest woman of herself, although she also writes poetry.

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