Comedy takes stock of corporate U.S.

Robert DaPonte (left) and Sean Lally (right) are the fired hirelings bent on revenge, and Damon Bonetti is the CEO.
Robert DaPonte (left) and Sean Lally (right) are the fired hirelings bent on revenge, and Damon Bonetti is the CEO. (JOHN FLAK)
Posted: November 01, 2011

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 naive, insights into the heartlessness of 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 moves from ridiculous to violent, which 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 that are pointlessly tossed around, the show, even at 90 minutes, goes on too long and seemed structurally flawed.

The friend who joined me for the opening-night performance at the Adrienne's Second Stage 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 (InterAct's The How and the Why), philosophy (Lantern's New Jerusalem), abstract expressionism (Philadelphia Theatre Company's Red), not to mention the horror and suffering in both The Diary of Anne Frank (EgoPo) and Our Class (Wilma). And then again, it may not.


The Fat Cat Killers

Presented by Flashpoint Theatre Company at the Second Stage at the Adrienne, 2030 Sansom St., through Nov.19.

Tickets: $5-$20.

Information: 215-665-9720 or www.flashpointtheatre.org


Follow Toby Zinman on Twitter at #philastage. Read her reviews at www.philly.com/phillystage.

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