Entries in Stephanie Hsu (1)

Tuesday
Mar182014

A COOL, DULL PLACE // A THEATRE REVIEW OF "FAST COMPANY"

BY MATEO MORENO

 

Family loyalty and bonds are tested in the new Ensemble Studio Theatre play FAST COMPANY.  Much like its title, the play hits fast and loose right from the bat, as we’re introduced to an Asian-American family that always have one thing in mind: the long con.  Blue (Stephanie Hsu) is the black sheep.  Her mother Mable (Mia Katigbak) has never believed in her grifting skills, but this hasn’t stopped her from working out con after con.  However, her latest has gone all wrong.  A con for a million dollar comic book, Action Comics #1 (featuring the first appearance of Superman), has blown up in her face.  So she turns to her Stepbrother Francis (Christopher Larkin) for help, and eventually her untrusting Mother and Brother H (Moses Villarama).  But the family that plays together in Cons don’t always stay together, and thus begins the trail of double crosses and lies.

 

Director Robert Ross Parker speeds things along and directs the evening with a vibrant fluidity.  However, even his precise direction doesn’t help the floundering plot, written by Carla Ching, which often feels like a half-baked Tarantino screenplay.  There’s not one double cross or backstage that you don’t see coming from a mile away, and as fancy as all of the “cons” are  named (Pig-in-a-Poke for example), they’re as transparent as each characters intentions.  The actors, however, are all solid.  Stephanie Hsu and Christopher Larkin are both consistently engaging as the scheming step siblings, and Moses Villarama displays a quiet intensity as their brother.  Mia Katigbak also revs up her scenes with a sly confidence, but her character’s arc is the worst of all four, so by the end of the play, you can’t buy anything she says.  There’s also far too many long winded conversation in the middle of the action, which force everything to a hault.  Other than a very effective and intriguing opening sequence, the rest of the play mostly bores.  I would recommend waiting for the usual solid EST’s next show, or simply go home and rent Infernal Affairs for an actual twisty plot.

 

MATEO’S GRADE: C-

 

Directed by: Robert Ross Parker Written By: Carla Ching Starring: Stephanie Hsu, Christopher Larkin, Moses Villarama, Mia Katigbak

Content Advisory: Language, Mild Violence

BOTTOM LINE:  Fast Company is sadly a dud.  The only true saving graces are the solid acting, directing, and the short running time.