Ensemble Theatre Company 6th Annual Repertory Festival is now underway with A Few Good Men running in the repertoire at Jericho Arts Centre.
The military courtroom drama is best known for the star-studded film of the same name but this intimate stage version really allows Aaron Sorkin’s script to be the star. Jericho Arts Centre layout brings the audience in so close to the players we felt like members of the jury. The intimacy draws the audience into the drama but also magnifies even the slightest of mistakes, some (presumably) opening-night nerves got the best of some actors. However, in such a dialogue heavy script some miscues and stumbles in delivery make it feel more natural.
The story follows the defendants, lawyers and witnesses in a high-profile court-martial, that the U.S. Marine Corp wants to quietly disappear, but internal affairs believes it’s more than an open and shut case. The team soon uncover a high-level conspiracy that slowly unravels before them. At first, the film comes to mind, but soon the cast steps out from the shadow of Tom Cruise, Demi Moore and Jack Nicholson to make the roles their own. Directors Alan Brodie and Tariq Leslie recast some of the characters with players of the opposite sex as in the film, making it even easier to look at them with fresh eyes.
As lead prosecutor Lt Daniel Kaffe, Zac Scott brings his own brand of cockiness to the first act, then really embodies the role as he emotionally connects to his clients and the audience. Alexis Kellum-Creer brings a mix of bravado and innocence to the character of Lt Commander Joanne Galloway, boldly asserting herself into the defense team but humbled by missteps in her ability make her realize her junior officer, Kaffe, is not all style and show. With the help of Sean Anthony’s Lt Sam Weinberg, the trio form a realistic camaraderie as they race to defend the pair of Marines accused of murder. As the play evolves the guilt shifts from the accused to others involved in the major cover up of a murder. Yurij Kis, as Col. Nathan Jessep, has one of the most difficult challenges to break free from the memory of Jack Nicolson’s Oscar nominated turn as the play’s villain. However, in spite of it being one of the most famous scenes in film, Kis really connects as he takes the witness stand and delivers a scorching monologue to implicate himself in the show’s climax.
As a fan of Aaron Sorkin, the cast and direction of Ensemble Theatre’s A Few Good Men keep the pace and deliver the drama expected of the well written script.
A Few Good Men runs alongside Ian Rankin’s Dark Road and The Beauty Queen of Leenane at Jericho Arts Centre in Ensemble Theatre Company’s Annual Repertory Festival until August 17th.
Visit ensembletheatrecompany.ca for festival passes and single tickets