Saturday, April 13, 2013

QUICK TAKE REVIEW Dynamite Group Dynamic By Beverly Creasey

Elizabeth Dupré’s THINKING OF YOU (through April 20th @ Boston Playwrights’ Theatre) happens entirely over one weekend, when a lively group of greeting card employees are stuck on an island (Martha’s Vineyard perhaps?) for a corporate retreat. Oh, no. That sounds like the setting for one of those scary movies but it isn’t. It’s a smart little comedy.

Dupré’s dialogue is hip and funny. The characters are charming (except for the villain, a management enforcer who you know will get her comeuppance). Each character is played with swagger and personality. All the threads of the story are woven carefully (if a bit slowly) into the plot(s): the Red Sox angle, the sister unable to let go of her grief (in Truly, Madly, Deeply fashion), a liquor soaked love confession and a delicious worker uprising.

Act II really comes to life with “the plan” to stick it to management. Dupré achieves screwball status with the hilarious character of the pretzel inhaler and the delightful conspiracy for payback. It’s then that the focus gels. (It’s a little blurry up ‘til then.)

 Danielle Lucas’ cast is wonderful, from Drew Linehan’s devoted, conflicted sister to Preston Graveline’s wisecracking, protective brother, from Laurie Singletary’s nasty, uptight boss to Stephen Kyle’s deadly announcement-happy corporate toady.

Andrew Hicks gets the plum role of the “pit bull” salesman whose frustration in Act II is a thing of beauty. David Lucas gets lots of laughs as the salesman with the next highest figures (and a secret he doesn’t want anyone to know). Jennifer Reddish adds sparkle as the cheeky I. T. expert. (Of course, the joke is that no one knows what she does.) Damon Singletary is a standout as the reluctant, forty something co-worker who throws in with the young saboteurs and finds the radical within him (with a nifty John Carlos solidarity salute).

Downsizing has never been so rewarding.