Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

July 3, 2009

Other People's Money

New Century Theatre, Northampton, MA
through July 11, 2009
by K.J. Rogowski
In an age of hostile take-overs, rampant bankruptcies, and a cornucopia of corporate bail-outs, New Century Theatre's production of "Other People's Money" is timely, relevant, and a good evening's entertainment investment. It's an all too common tale of a sleepy, yet money rich, little company, New England Wire & Cable, that suddenly finds itself 'in play,' and the target of Larry the Liquidator, whose credo echoes that of another Wall Street high roller: "Greed is Good!"

Keith Langsdale's staging at the beginning of this tale of cold economics vs personal pride and commitment is inventive, impactful, and sets the stage for this funny and very human clash of cultures and ethics. On the "personal pride and commitment" side of the scales are solid performances from Manfred Melcher, Jean Devereau Koester, and Dick Volker as the hands-on managers and stakeholders in their 73 year old company. On the "greed is good" side are Marianna Bassham and Ed Jewett (Larry), who both ultimately use the world as their personal oyster bed with a guaranteed pearl in every one. Speaking of pearls…of special note is Jewett's performance as Lawrence Garfinkle. One moment he's striding the stage, bellowing the blessings of all that money can buy, and the next he's mischievous and mugging -- a genuine Machiavellian teddy bear who keeps the audience laughing and cringing all at once.

Andrew Stuart's set design is to the point (note whose desk is cluttered and whose is clean, even sterile). Langsdale's direction on this set is tight and keeps the action moving from Rhode Island to New York in a second, and not a beat missed. So invest wisely, spend an evening with the folks chasing other people's money.