On a dark and stormy night, corporate lawyer Laura (Desi Doyen) admits she's
been suicidal for some time, so it's no surprise when the other weekend renters at an
isolated Hamptons time-share stumble upon a corpse. With the deceased center stage, rival
lawyer Douglas (Allen Lulu) steals Laura's legal briefs while depressed social worker Tuba
(Scott Rabinowitz) reads her diary and finds himself smitten with her. Mousy tax lawyer
Cathy (Alexandria Sage) revels in the excitement, comforting the deceased's fiancé Peter
(Graham McCann) until Michael (J. Haran) arrives claiming to be the real fiancé.
Playwright George Larkin cannibalizes various genre conventions with mistaken identities,
elevating the whodunit spoof to new levels of hilarity. Director Adam Bitterman keeps the
action moving, the jokes zooming and the pratfalls flying at a breathless pace, with the
energetic cast delivering uniformly strong comic performances. Dominated by a nautical
motif (including a giant taxidermied marlin), Aaron Francis' multi-doored set is nicely
suited to the action, particularly to Bitterman's well-choreographed fight scene.
- Sandra Ross
©1999 LA WEEKLY
BACKSTAGE WEST /
Although George Larkin's script is hardly the Shakespearean bloodfest the
title promises (I will admit to nurturing a sweet fantasy wherein an arena of lawyers
battle each other until only a few cell phones and a Porsche key chain are left behind),
it's still a fun little show based on the Agatha Christie premise of a house, cut off from
civilization by a storm, containing a mysterious corpse and a number of terrified
Lawyers Douglas (Allen Lulu) and Cathy (Alexandria Sage), along with the
way-out-of-his-element social worker Tuba (Scott Rabinowitz), all arrive at their Hamptons
time-share to find a corpse, head neatly bagged, sitting upright on the couch. A quick
perusal of the nearby diary, with its 17 subheadings, reveals what they think to be the
truth - until the corpse's fiancé Peter (Graham McCann) shows up. And then the
corpse's fiancé Michael (J. Haran) shows up. And then things get complicated.
Lulu and Sage are wonderfully reprehensible as lawyers who attempt the
occasional human emotion, while Rabinowitz proves a warm and personable foil. McCann and
Haran are fun, but I can't tell you why. Desi Doyen has a captivating Grace Kelly quality,
but I can't tell you who she is. I may have told you too much already. The delightfully
named Adam Bitterman shows an adept directorial hand for farce.
I don't know who to applaud for the lights-I'll guess it's production
designer Aaron Francis-but they're wonderful. Much of the play happens by candlelight, and
it's not until they all light up at once after a blackout that you even realize they're
not real. I don't know how those warm little pools of light were achieved so naturally,
but it's quite an effect. The set (the modest Mr. Francis again?) is a lovely bit of
seafoam green real estate, although I'd question the necessity of adding a full, visible
bathroom (trust me, nothing you need to see happens there). Babe Hack's sound makes for a
ripping good storm. Only the addition of deceased IRS auditors could make for a more
- Wenzel Jones
©1999 Backstage West
VENTURA COUNTY STAR
Question: A lawyer dies, goes to heaven and they throw a parade for her.
Why? Answer: Because she was the first one to get there. Despite this
and dozens of other clich attorney jokes, the play Dead Lawyers is a hysterical send-up of
Agatha Christie whodunits and door-slamming farces with more egotistical lawyers than an
A raging storm, a washed-out bridge and a secluded time-share house in the
Hamptons provide the ideal clich setting for this comic mystery. Renters arrive to
find a corpse on the couch, an apparent suicide of a corporate lawyer named Laura. Douglas
(Allen Lulu, whom youll recognize from a series of collect phone call ads), a rival of
Lauras, reacts to the corpse like its a piece of furniture. Tuba, a suicidal social
worker, reads Laura's diary and falls in love with her. Cathy, a reserved tax lawyer cares
for the shocked fianc Peter ... until another man also claiming to be the fiance enters
and the mystery deepens.
Adam Bitterman directs George Larkins play for The Sacred Fools Theater
Company, which has forged its name as one of the citys better troupes. The show continues
Thursdays through Saturdays at the Heliotrope Theater, 660 N. Heliotrope Drive, Hollywood.
On Thursdays two lawyers get in for the price of one. And on Saturday nights,
theater-goers can stay for free and see the late night show Crime Scene, a continuing saga
of violence and intrigue. For more information call (310) 281-8337.
- Jeff Farve
©1999 Ventura County Star