A graphic novel come to life, Longshots manages to generate that same exhilaration onstage. Set in today's world with the requisite doses of anti-heroes and femme fatales, the Stella Adler Theatre have a gem in their hands.
It opens with a young man, played by a very charming Alex Sanborn, who responds to the loss of his mother by selling his life on ebay and readies himself with a new crusade: Finding God. Ronald Quigley plays his step-father with a heartfelt depth that belies his character's gruff exterior. From there, the play unwinds through stories full of seedy characters and duplicitous motivations: A hospitalized woman finds herself engaged with a roommate who is cuffed to his bed and pleading for his freedom, a husband discovers his wife's hidden past as a runaway fugitive, and a group of con artists try to best each other while fleecing their victim.
With an ensemble of over twenty characters, there are many stand-out actors that clearly savor their roles. Rochelle Rossman is intriguing to watch as she unmasks the dualities of the anti-hero. The playful chemistry of Jim Parrack and Stefanie Chapman is so replete with such genuine affection, their fate is almost doomed from the start.
Vincent Nesci and Naomi Hurter manifest the deceit of their roles with such palpable criminal delight - one would think they were culled from a police line-up. And lastly, beware the ferocity of Nick Warnock, who delivers a razor-edge monologue about Chinese dogs that is not for the faint of heart.
Writer/Director Dakota Aesquivel has a flair for mixing drama and humor to make for a compelling narrative, and his zest for story clearly manifests itself as he steers each plot through its unique turn.
The dialogue is crisp and it is clear the actors relish their lines. Just as importantly, the stage work and set design hustle through the many transitions so seamlessly it becomes part of the show.
This production runs nearly three hours with a fifteen minute intermission, and there are enough twists and laughs in this play to make this presentation very engaging. The humor is dark, the characters are shady, and each story has a surprise reveal at the end designed to keep everyone on the edge of their seats. This is essentially a film onstage, and a brilliantly written one at that. Longshots is as epic as it is ambitious, and more importantly immensely enjoyable.