This One Time in Last Chance
nytheatre.com review by Richard Lovejoy
August 13, 2011
The Attic Theater company has put together a fun, well executed production in This One Time In Last Chance. It isn't a particularly heavy or innovative piece of theatre, but it is certainly an engrossing dark comedy, due to the strength and consistency of the production.
The story revolves around two friends (Joshua Everett Johnson and Rob Bradford) meeting at a hotel to do a drug deal. From moment one, things go awry. That's pretty much it. There is nothing particularly fresh or thought provoking going on Gooley's script, but it is well crafted and highly polished.
The humor in the writing is largely derived from seeing a situation clearly set up and then watching it inevitably and (painfully for the characters on stage) unfold. Gooley possess plenty of technical chops as a writer—there are no wasted beats and the action unfolds at an enjoyable clip.
The script does seem to owe a huge debt to A Behanding In Spokane. There are a number of parallels between the two in terms of story and structure—to the point where it can be distracting. Even the humor is similar (though Spokane is perhaps a bit darker and more inventive.)
Johnson and Bradford have fantastic chemistry, and their energy propels the action. Aside from hitting the right comedic notes, they also succeed in making the characters sympathetic. Their friendship is extremely specific, and rings completely true. Marcus Denard Johnson and Bill Griffin, in the two supporting roles, are also excellent.
The design team of Amanda Jenks (costumes), Ben Pilat (lights), Anthony Spinelli (sound) and Julia Noulin-Merat (scenic) are all on the same page. There isn't anything flashy here, but it all works well and feels unified and specific. Director Laura Braza does a top-notch job on every possible level. She's put together a capable cast, staged the play well, and created a world that is easy to believe in. The running time, a hair under one hour and thirty minutes, flies by.
This One Time In Last Chance isn't a risky piece of theater, but it is well crafted, expertly executed, and completely enjoyable.