Review | Fast Company: enjoyably confusing

Brian Kim and Eric “Pogi” Sumangil in FAST COMPANY. Photo by Rich Ryan.

Fast Company (Theater Mu performing at the Guthrie, through Nov 24) wants to be good. All the production elements are in place: a zippy pace, muscular direction (by whip smart Brian Balcom), excellent acting. The play has some tasty design (sets by Joel Sass, lighting by Karin Olson, projections by Miko Simmons, costumes by Ash Kaun, sound by Montana Johnson). Everyone in the cast is effective, especially the sexy/slinky Jeannie Lander and ever-stolid and powerful Eric “Pogi” Sumangil (but Ming Montgomery and Brian Kim do first rate work as well). The play has a compelling “faster, funnier” flavor and is thus a treat to watch.

What Fast Company (by Carla Ching) lacks is a coherent, followable script. The play is about a family of “grifters” (whatever this means) and their intense intra-familial rivalries. But how does this play out? I don’t understand the obsession with the million dollar comic book. (I’m willing to believe that someone would shell out a million bux for a comic, but I need more info.) The play refers to what I assume are common cons – “The Spanish Prisoner,” “The Pig-In-A-Poke” – but I don’t know what these entail. I understand that the characters in this play are related but I don’t get the precise nature of the relationships. They “grift,” but I don’t understand how this resonates for each of them.

Is my confusion my own fault? I suspect that I get dumber as I age and what may be crystal clear to someone else gives me the duhs. So take my criticism with a large grain of salt and let Fast Company with its undeniable charm and energy was over you.

John Olive is a writer living in Minneapolis. His book, Tell Me A Story In The Dark, about the magic of bedtime stories, has been published. John’s The Voice Of The Prairie has been performed 100 plus times and ditto Minnesota Moon and his adaptation of Sideways Stories From Wayside School. His The Summer Moon won a Kennedy Center Award For Drama. John has won fellowships from the Jerome Foundation, the Bush Foundation, the McKnight Foundation and from the National Endowment For The Arts. Please visit his informational website.


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