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BWW Review: ONE OF THE NICE ONES Features One of the Nastiest Ones EVER!

ONE OF THE NICE ONES/by Erik Patterson/directed by Chris Fields/Atwater Village Theatre/thru August 21, 2016

The Echo Theatre Company's world premiere of playwright Erik Patterson's ONE OF THE NICE ONES showcases Patterson's brilliantly witty and detailed script with very capable actors directed in a swift and smooth clip. How unfortunate that ONE OF THE NICE ONES spends so much time focused on the most abrasive, unsympathetic, duplicitous, conniving bitch ever to walk, no, roll in, in her wheelchair. Whoa!

Kudos to Rebecca Gray for her no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners portrayal of the unapologetically, despicable, totally disgusting weight loss telemarketer Tracy. Without a spoiler alert, there's at least one scene too many of Tracy.

Plot centers on Tracy doing whatever she can to prevent her boss Roger from laying her off. Office politics at its deepest, nightmarish depths involves a sociopath, her corruptible boss, human resources and an innocent co-worker caught up in the midst of this messy situation.

A strong foil for Tracy's venom comes from Graham Hamilton as Roger, Tracy's superior, himself morally questionable, at the Tender Form Weight Loss Center. Hamilton has Roger's winning sales pitch/spiel down pat. So pat, that in his 'normal' interoffice conversations with his underling Neal, Roger's 'sales' pitch morphs into motivational speak as he pumps Neal's self-confidence up.

Rodney To steals the show as the video game-playing, insecure Neal commanding the stage with his well-expressed, well-timed physical comedy antics. To NAILS Neal's revealing, long overdued outburst at his co-worker and boss. Yeah!!!

Tara Karsian totally convinces as Colleen, Tracy's phone sales convert/customer. Via Roger's 'motivational' prodding, Karsian goes from meek, easily offended sales target to a live open wound vividly recalling her vibrant life before marriage and weight gain.

Gripping tension with occasional surprises receive even-handedly pacing by director Chris Fields.

Very ingenious set from scenic designer Amanda Knehans, utilizing reversible wall modules and object collages (reminiscent of Laugh-In panels). With just the simple movement of various modules, the set locations change in seconds from manager's office, to workstations, to breakroom, to conference room and most inventively, to the men's bathroom.

I'm sure you'll agree that a character like Tracy is better placed in a black comedy than in your actual place of business.

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From This Author Gil Kaan