September 17, 2014
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Theatre Review
Courtroom drama one of 2nd Story's finest
Don Fowler

Ed Shea has brought in URI Associate Professor of Theatre, Bryna Wortman, to direct Aaron Sorkin’s courtroom drama, “A Few Good Men” at the Courtroom in the Bristol Statehouse.

Wortman has caught the essence of the morality play, which was turned into a movie starring Jack Nicholson, Tom Cruise and Debra Winger. The 2nd Story actors have taken the characters and made them their own.

Leading the pack is veteran actor Vince Petronio, who plays the pivotal role of Lt. Col. Nathan Jessup, a determined, arrogant man who will do or say anything to uphold his honor, right or wrong. Petronio plays him with a coolness that makes you shiver as you wait for him to explode. And explode he does, in a taut and tense scene that signifies serious theatre at its best.

Miles Boucher and Jona Cedeno play the two Marines accused of complicity in the death of a fellow Marine at Guantanamo Bay. Equally good are Tim White and Christina Woflskehl as their lawyers, in constant conflict with each other, and Ara Boghigian as the prosecutor.

It appears for a while that the defense will settle for a plea bargain and the truth behind the “Code Red” incident will be whitewashed. But changes in events and attitudes lead to a showdown between the lawyers and the military brass. The Code is the key: Unit/Corps/God/Country. Might is right. Ends justify the means.

All of these moral issues are raised as Jessup defends his Code Red method of leadership, a code that can be found in none of the military manuals.

While the play deals with very heavy issues, Sorkin has included a few funny moments to break the tension. And there is tension.

2nd Story employs are large cast of 17 actors, some serving a number of minor roles while also helping to change the venues. It works very well in the Bristol setting.

“A Few Good Men” is at 2nd Story’s alternate venue at the Bristol Statehouse, 240 High St. in downtown Bristol through June 24. Call 247-4200, or go online at boxoffice@2ndstorytheatre.com for tickets, which are reasonably priced at $25.

Want a great meal before the show? While there are many fine restaurants in the area, we enjoy Leo’s, a few blocks away on Hope St., where their clam chowder deservedly won an award at the Newport Chowder Cookoff. Try their lasagna. It’s great.


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