Do not be fooled by the title, One of the Nice Ones. There is nothing “nice” about Erik Patterson’s play.
Point of fact, it is relentless in its anti-niceness.
Think your typical office politics row only with Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken taking turns holding a .45 to their temples in a Saigon gambling den.
Playwright Patterson has achieved something unique here which I find difficult to properly describe.
An “entertaining enema?”
An “engaging evisceration?”
Well something along those lines.
Director Chris Fields has approached this work clad in a hockey mask with chain saw in hand.
And while it results in no meaningful insights into the inner demons of the play’s characters this
maybe a blessing.
The production reflects the slick professionalism which has become associated with Atwater’s Echo Theatre Company.
Amanda Knehans has devised an emphatically functional set whose tidily executed jumbled up patchwork of office items serves to counter balance the play’s furiously emotional chaos that splatters the stage like gore at an ax murder crime scene.
Supplying that “gore” is a fine cast:
Graham Hamilton as the ruthless boss with a heart of radioactive flesh eating bacteria;
Rodney To as the office nerd who comes across like a sexually abused Keane painting only funnier;
And Tara Karsian as the “spawn from the bowels of hell-ex machina.”
Topping the roster of talent here is Rebecca Gray, so memorable from the Echo’s highly extolled production of Firemen.
Gray is the whip master of this piece, slithering and wheeling about the stage like fanged mercury in a performance that chews the scenery then bitch slaps it.
This is a tough show to talk about, because anything said about it, reveals a rather jarring plot point that is best discovered in the viewing.
Leaving the theatre, my lovely wife Marlene delivered a critique of her own which began with her barking out the word “despicable” and then repeating it for the next ten minutes straight.
Myself, I found it…really fun.
(Do keep in mind I’ve been arrested on three continents and when filling out job applications use to list under special skills “Pulling wings off flies.”)
One of the Nice Ones doesn’t cross a line, it manically tap dances over it. Fields and his talented cast have done excellent work here in staging the premiere of Patterson’s rather disturbing comedy.
And it is…fun.
I wouldn’t describe it as more fun than a barrel of monkeys.
Let’s play it safe and say it’s more fun than a barrel of Zuni fetish dolls. ♣
As featured in Trilogy of Terror (1975) staring Karen Black.
♦ ♦ ♦
For more Information on how to see One of the Nice Ones
Playing this Friday Saturday and Sunday at
Atwater Village Theatre
3269 Casitas Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90039
Call 310-307-3753 or go to www.EchoTheaterCompany.com