REVIEW: Other People’s Money

Mike King, Mike Dennis, and Robert Allen / Photo by Mikki Schaffner
Mike King, Mike Dennis, and Robert Allen / Photo by Mikki Schaffner

Who knew a play about restructuring, wire and cable, and back room business dealings could be so interesting?  OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY, produced by New Edgecliff Theatre in the Aronoff Center’s Fifth Third Theatre tells the story of a business that has done better in years past but plugs along, driven by its passionate and old school leader (Robert Allen) in spite of the fact that times may have passed him by.  Mike King plays the manager of the company, driven to do his best, just waiting for his turn to take complete control.  And then Mike Dennis’s character, an infamous Wall Street type Lawrence Garfinkle (nicknamed “Larry the Liquidator”) shows up in his limousine with designs on taking control of the company through stock options – and then dismantling it.  The company, it seems, is worth more dead than alive.

Don’t let the premise fool you; this is a thrilling story full of emotion, twists, and turns.  The three male actors absolutely shine.  They play off one another’s energy well, with Dennis stealing the show more often than not.  Somehow he manages to appear completely driven, with an aggressive New York accent, while bringing the laid back charm that this actor is known for.  This is not a likable character, however you almost start rooting for him thanks to Dennis’s brilliant energy.  Allen, by contrast, is an intense actor but this character has a grandfatherly quality.  Everyone loves “Jorgy,” and they should.  He’s a great man, ethical to a fault – a champion for the underdog because he himself has always been one, too.  King is torn, because he understands what has made the company successful is the old school business tactics . . . but he’s sharp enough to know that won’t work much longer.  The agony of having to wait out the old man is apparent in his body language.  These guys are great.

Mindy Seibert plays “Bea,” and Elizabeth Chin Molloy plays her daughter – an up and coming young lawyer.  Reluctant at first to help due to her own personal issues with the old man, she finds herself sucked into the game as she wants to spar with Garfinkle.  And spar she does.  The corporate battle is on like Donkey Kong and its not clear who’s going to win the fight.  I was on the edge of my seat.

I consider this to be show NOT TO BE MISSED.  The set design by is creative and interesting, the sound design added to the show without being obtrusive, and I was genuinely moved more than once.  Go see this show.

OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY runs through April 26th.  Tickets and more information are available here.  Read an interview with the director, Greg Procaccino, here.

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