Fast Company: In brief
An Asian-American math whiz and her family of grifters chase down a lost copy of Action Comics No. 1 in a new comedy by Carla Ching, directed by Robert Ross Parker for Ensemble Studio Theatre.
Fast Company: Theater review by David Cote
When writing a play about con artists double- and triple-crossing each other, it’s probably a good rule of thumb to stay one or two steps ahead of the suckers, er, audience. That’s where Carla Ching’s Fast Company, an eager but slight crime comedy, stumbles. Despite an energetic (and rushed) opening scene in which college student Blue (Stephanie Hsu) explains to Francis (Christopher Larkin) how their brother H (Moses Villarama) screwed her out of a million-dollar vintage comic book, the action unfolds in a strangely linear pattern of predictable reversals and gotcha! reveals.
Perhaps to offset the schematic script, director Robert Ross Parker encourages broad, speedy acting from the ensemble, headed by Mia Katigbak as cold-blooded matriarch Mabel. While Ching mingles game theory and grifter lingo in potentially amusing ways, her borrowed terms come across as watered-down metaphors for family dynamics. “She used the Psychological Game on you,” Francis informs a shocked H, as if maternal guilt were some exotic tactic. Serial scammers may be sociopaths, but they know how to use people’s feelings.—Theater review by David Cote
THE BOTTOM LINE This dramedy about a family of career cheaters will only steal your time.