×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Best Man

Preeming as a visiting production at East West Players' David Henry Hwang Theater, "The Best Man" can be likened to a misconceived fusion of Edward Albee's "Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" and Sam Shepard's "Buried Child."

With:
Danny - Weiko Lin Mitch - Leonard Wu Misty - Cathy Shim Julia - Lisa Faiman

Preeming as a visiting production at East West Players’ David Henry Hwang Theater, “The Best Man” can be likened to a misconceived fusion of Edward Albee’s “Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and Sam Shepard’s “Buried Child.” Scripter-thesp Weiko Lin’s effort to scrutinize the dysfunctional history of adult siblings Danny (Lin) and Mitch (Leonard Wu) — on the eve of Mitch’s marriage to Danny’s former wife, Julia (Lisa Faiman) — flails chaotically from scene to scene, substituting clumsy, illogical exposition for a viable dramatic throughline.

Set in an upscale Manhattan hotel suite (impressively realized by Haibo Yu), the opening scene aims to establish the fractious fraternal relationship as slovenly, loser-in-life Danny offers whiskey and jibes to loosen up immaculately attired but emotionally inhibited Mitch, who has requested his older brother to be best man at the impending nuptials. Handicapped by leaden, arbitrary dialogue and a relentlessly unfocused perf by Wu, helmer Kevin Lau fails to establish a conversational rhythm or rapport between these two men who have supposedly known each other all their lives.

The action becomes livelier but even less viable with the arrival of Danny’s sensual, hyper-vivacious 18-year-old girlfriend, Misty (Cathy Shim), and Mitch’s monumentally controlling 30-year-old fiancee. Within the ensuing rounds of free-flowing booze and cruelly barbed gamesmanship, myriad past follies and tragedies are revealed, but almost no believable human interaction occurs. The eventual revelation that, during their marriage, Julia and Danny’s infant daughter disappeared while under Danny’s care at a shopping mall, is just another historical moment tossed onto this legiter’s heaping fact pile of gothic doings.

Helmer Lau allows this foursome to wallow within their own bad intentions without regard to pacing or connection. Lin’s Danny seldom varies from his state of incorrigible inebriation, whether he is explaining how he pimps out Misty to earn a living or is being confronted with the dubious details of his own birth and the death of his mother. Wu’s opening scene inhibitions spiral downward into unwavering adolescent petulance as Mitch inevitably comes up lacking in every encounter.

Faiman fails to instill veracity into Julia’s shrike-like, domineering relationship with subservient Mitch or her inexplicable love for ne’er-do-well Danny. She redeems herself during Julia’s final scene descent into grief and rage when she is confronted with Danny’s grotesque capacity for evil.

Shim’s perpetually undulating Misty actually rises above the material, offering a memorable portrait of a rampant party animal who is nonetheless rooted in her own sense of truth and purpose.

Popular on Variety

The Best Man

David Henry Hwang Theater, Los Angeles; 247 seats; $25 top

Production: A W Prods. presentation of a play in one act by Weiko Lin. Directed by Kevin Lau.

Crew: Sets, Haibo Yu; costumes, Leah Piehl; lighting, Chris Singleton; sound, Dennis Yen; stage manager, Dina Dominguez. Opened, reviewed, May 12, 2007. Closes June 3. Running time: 1 HOURS, 40 MINUTES.

Cast: Danny - Weiko Lin Mitch - Leonard Wu Misty - Cathy Shim Julia - Lisa Faiman

More Scene

  • Rami Malek, Robert Pattinson and John

    Robert Pattinson Praises Fans for Raising Funds for Go Campaign: ‘It’s So Sweet’

    Robert Pattinson is giving back, but he’s even more impressed that his friends and fans are joining him in the fight. “It’s amazing,” Pattinson told Variety on the black carpet outside Neuehouse in Hollywood at the Go Campaign’s annual gala. “And they’ve done it every year. It’s kind of — it’s so sweet and I [...]

  • Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese, Al PacinoKirk

    Martin Scorsese Saluted by Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Pacino at Santa Barbara Film Fest Gala

    Leonardo DiCaprio and Al Pacino saluted Martin Scorsese‘s dedication and risk-taking at his Santa Barbara International Film Festival tribute, while the filmmaker spoke about the importance of “individual artistic expression.” More than 300 people attended the black-tie gala on Thursday night in Scorsese’s honor at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara in Santa Barbara, where festival exec director [...]

  • DOLEMITE IS MY NAME!, 2019, DOL_Unit_06284.RAF

    'Dolemite Is My Name' Writer Larry Karaszewski Recalls 10-Year Journey to Make Rudy Ray Moore Biopic

    “Harriet” writer-director Kasi Lemmons was in a reflective mood at Tuesday night’s “Behind the Screen” event at the Formosa Cafe in West Hollywood, sponsored by the Writers Guild of America West. The biopic, starring Cynthia Erivo as slave-turned-abolitionist Harriet Tubman, has been receiving buzz since its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. It’s Lemmons’ [...]

  • Taika Waititi and Roman Griffin Davis

    Holocaust Experts Debate 'Jojo Rabbit' at Museum of Tolerance Screening

    With its comedic, cartoonish portrayal of Nazis, Taika Waititi’s satirical Hitler youth tale “Jojo Rabbit” has polarized critics and audiences alike. And that division continued to be stirred at Tuesday night’s screening of the film at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, where Liebe Geft, director of the museum, moderated a heated panel discussion [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content