×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Inside Job

Padua Playwrights artistic director Guy Zimmerman has scripted a flawed but still compelling minimalist view of what he feels is a gargantuan force of evil that is constantly shaping and reshaping the structure of life on earth. As a director, he underscores the horrific inevitability of corporate imperialism.

With:
Max - Barry del Sherman Victoria - Jessica Margaret Dean Heidi - Holly Ramos

Padua Playwrights artistic director Guy Zimmerman has scripted a flawed but still compelling minimalist view of what he feels is a gargantuan force of evil that is constantly shaping and reshaping the structure of life on earth. As a director, he underscores the horrific inevitability of corporate imperialism that terrorizes and subjugates humanity. Philosophically on the same stylistic wavelength as earlier cutting-edge Padua Playwrights works, “The Inside Job” needs to acquire more substance if it is to move on to the next level.

Zimmerman has distilled his worldw view into the persona of “downwardly mobile” Max (Barry del Sherman), a scandalized corporate executive whose top-of-the-world career was abruptly undone by Enron-like shenanigans that diminished his formerly opulent lifestyle. Sharing Max’s space — a low-rung, sparsely furnished condo in the San Fernando Valley — is his traumatized socialite wife, Victoria (Jessica Margaret Dean), who hasn’t spoken a word for two months. Hoping to revive his wife’s sociability in time to attend what he hopes will be a career-reviving party, Max invites home a young woman named Heidi (Holly Ramos). It seems the last phrase uttered by Victoria before she went silent was, “Went to see Heidi.”

Helming his own work, Zimmerman certainly believes less is more. Often beginning and ending each scene with a frozen tableau of unconnected personas staring off into space, the helmer painstakingly connects the dots that link these three together.

Zimmerman offers tantalizing droplets of information, alluding to coercions and corruptions in places like El Salvador and Guatemala. His antihero Max is particularly fixated on an all-powerful character named Remner, a former college acquaintance from Rutgers U., an inferior soul who went to South America and returned with a Texas drawl and a transcendent aura of superiority. It is Remner who has absorbed all of Max’s power and status, including Max’s former mansion where the party is going to be held.

The dialogue and the interplay between the characters are often compelling, but what Zimmerman fails to do is offer any cohesion to this unrelenting tale of woe. His agenda is tossed at the audience like isolated slivers from a broken mirror. They are little triumphs of fact that offer no clear picture on their own. At one point, Max refers to the power class by saying, “They never admit they’re wrong. They just declare victory and move on.” That is in essence what Zimmerman is doing, declaring each isolated triumph of perspective and moving on. The end result is a fuzzy, impressionistic entity whose parts are much more than its whole.

Del Sherman is properly bloodless as the elitist Max, who contemptuously declares, “I worship nothing.” Unfortunately, he isn’t always facile with Zimmerman’s often complicated dialogue, occasionally struggling to maintain Max’s icy facade while stumbling over a word or phrase.

Dean exudes patrician sophistication as a socialite whose mind cannot absorb her current degraded social status. She impressively communicates the bewilderment of a lost soul who only occasionally can assimilate what is happening right in front of her. Her eventual awakening is summed up in her softly stated final declaration to her husband, “Max, I want to leave here and never come back.”

Ramos is outstanding as the sensuous mystery woman Heidi, who appears to have insinuated herself into all aspects of Max’s and Victoria’s lives. She’s also quite believable as a potentially lethal ally of the unseen Remner. Ramos’ Heidi never fails to connect to whatever level of insecurity Max is suffering while seamlessly segueing into a much-needed liaison between Max and Victoria.

The stark production values of Jeffery Atherton (sets), Robert Oriol (lights, sound and original music) and Tina Preston (costumes) are certainly appropriate to Zimmerman’s staging.

Popular on Variety

The Inside Job

2100 Square Feet;; 72 seats; $20 top

Production: Padua Playwrights and Daniel Lynch Millner present a play in one act, written and directed by Guy Zimmerman.

Creative: Sets, Jeffrey Atherton; lights, sound, original music, Robert Oriol; costumes, Tina Preston. Opened, reviewed Nov. 8, 2003; runs through Dec. 7. Running time: 80 MINS.

Cast: Max - Barry del Sherman Victoria - Jessica Margaret Dean Heidi - Holly Ramos

More Legit

  • The Inheritance review

    Broadway Review: 'The Inheritance'

    The real hero of “The Inheritance,” Matthew Lopez’s thoughtful, moving and painfully funny play, is E.M. Forster, the celebrated English author of “Howards End,” “A Room with a View,” “A Passage to India,” and “Maurice,” that last a gay-themed novel published after his death in 1970. It’s quite the literary thrill to find the great [...]

  • Stephen Sondheim's 'Follies' in the Works

    Stephen Sondheim's 'Follies' in the Works as a Movie From Heyday, BBC Films

    David Heyman’s Heyday Films, whose credits include “Gravity,” “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” “Marriage Story” and the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts franchises, and BBC Films have secured the film rights to Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman’s musical “Follies.” “Follies” will be adapted for the screen and directed by Dominic Cooke, a four-time Olivier [...]

  • Tina Turner The Musical

    How 'Tina: The Tina Turner Musical' Tells the Icon's Traumatic Story

    It wasn’t the response Tali Pelman had hoped to receive. The group creative managing director of Stage Entertainment had traveled to Küsnacht, Switzerland, with one goal in mind: Convince Tina Turner that her life could be the stuff of a successful stage musical. “We walked in the door,” Pelman remembers. “Tina was already there, and she greeted [...]

  • Ben McKenzie

    'Gotham' Star Ben McKenzie to Make Broadway Debut in 'Grand Horizons'

    “Gotham” star Ben McKenzie will make his Broadway debut in Bess Wohl’s “Grand Horizons.” He joins a cast that includes Oscar nominees Jane Alexander (“Kramer vs. Kramer,” “The Great White Hope”) and James Cromwell (“Babe,” “L.A. Confidential”). The show has a strictly limited 10-week run and begins previews on Dec. 23, 2019, before officially opening [...]

  • The Great Society review

    Listen: Brian Cox on 'Succession,' Shakespeare, and the Crisis We're In

    Brian Cox is having a pop-culture moment with “Succession,” the buzzy HBO series in which he stars. But he’s also an accomplished theater actor with plenty of experience doing Shakespeare — and it serves him well in both “Succession” and in his current Broadway show, “The Great Society.” Listen to this week’s podcast below: Cox [...]

  • Scooby Doo Ella Louise Allaire Martin

    Scooby-Doo Live Theater Tour Is Goofy Dane's Latest Adventure

    From its 1969 start as a Saturday morning kids mystery cartoon series “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!” starring its titular, talking Great Dane and his four teenaged friends, has made adventure its staple. Once Hanna-Barbera’s successor, Warner Bros. Animation, took the leash, Scooby and company became a comic book, a board game, a series of video [...]

  • Tootsie Santino Fontana

    'Tootsie' Ending Broadway Run in January

    “Tootsie,” the critically acclaimed musical adaptation of the 1982 classic film comedy, will play its final Broadway performance on Jan. 5, 2020. When it wraps up its run, the show will have logged 293 regular and 25 preview performances at the cavernous Marquis Theatre, where it sometimes labored to draw big crowds. Last week, “Tootsie” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content