Review By: Sandi Durell
Two old hit men living in “the wilds of New Jersey” are more like an old married couple – Richard Zavaglia (Donnie Brasco), as Dom, loves to cook and the other, Dan Lauria (Lombardi, A Christmas Story the Musical, Tv’s The Wonder Years – who also penned this dark, dark comedy) as Charlie, loves to grow vegetables (especially very large zucchini) as fresh, organic ingredients for the interesting dishes that Dom prepares. They’re very loving to each other (bringing up a thought as to whether there’s more going on between them than Mambo Italiano!) and certainly have some lively conversations about world issues and violence . . . ha, ha.
There’s just one little difference here . . . although they’ve disappeared after partaking in many hits, they’ve been banished here in the wilds because they just couldn’t go through with knocking off a friend, Leo, whom Big Anthony, Jr. had to finish off himself. Baddabing . . . The Boys make sure not a trace of their targets remain because they grind up the bones for fertilizer and . . . now this is very Sweeney Todd-ish . . . they also grind up the rest of the victim, including Leo . . . mmmm, they love those little white meat-a-balls!
So, there you have it – – they reminisce about their past days as hit men, with lots of laugh lines, gags and one-liners . . . some that make it, others that fall kinda flat. They talk a lot about The Uncle Sid, whom they respect (he’s the Jewish Mafioso played by Ray Abruzzo (The Sopranos) who also plays Big Anthony,Jr. Seems that both these characters want to put a final end to these hit men and the proceedings are laden with shtick, loud talking, gunshots and lots of blood. It gets very animated in Jessica Parks’ Italian kitchen with plaid wallpaper, little curtains on the windows, a cross and Frank Sinatra photo – the set design, perfected with Jill Nagle’s lighting – giving director Frank Megna a helping hand at bringing flashbacks of descriptive hits come to life.
It’s certainly an interesting and eerie premise for this mob-inspired play, and the cast is top of the line, so if Soprano-style is your style, you’ll really get a bang out of this one. It runs at the Acorn Theatre on Theatre Row thru July 5th in two acts. www.dinnerwiththeboysplay.com
Photos: Joan Marcus