Pictured L to R: Adam Driver, Dave Tawil, Steven Marcus, Billy Tangradi, Joanne Tucker, Tobias Segal in a scene from "Little Doc" written by Dan Klores and directed by John Gould Rubin. World Premiere production at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater (NYC). June 11- July 18, 2010. © Sandra Coudert.
The bar is manned by Rickey’s father, Weasel and owned by Manny. Mannyis the top dog in this group of small time crooks and con, and it turns out Ric is into Mannyfor $50,000. To get information on what happened to the money and why Ric is acting jumpy, Manny turns to Angelo. Angelo is an old acquaintance of the Ricky and his friends, recently release from jail. It is Angelo’s arrival and his agenda that propels the four friends to face the consequences of their small time criminal lifestyle. From the moment Angelo arrives upstairs at the apartment, the piece is set, inexorably, on violent path to conclusion.
Joanne Tucker as the Peggy and Tobias Segal as Billy are standouts in a very good cast. Both have been drawn into this group dynamic by an emotional and physical attraction to Ricky, and both have been badly served by that same attraction. Their responses couldn’t be more different. Ms. Tucker plays Peggy as forceful and strong. Mr. Segal’s Billy, by contrast, is pretty much silent and withdrawn falling deeper and deeper into a drug stupor. Steven Marcus is Weasel, and he is excellent as Ric’s father, a small time hoodlum overtaken by the twin demands of family and loyalty.
But it is Adam Driver as Ric that shines the brightest in this cast, particularly in the last section of the show. He plans to get out of his dead end life, at the expense of his friends and family. When his plan is discovered, his failure as a friend and son is overshadowed by his own fear and the desire to escape the consequences of his actions.
Director John Gould Rubin does a good job of keeping the action on a long slow boil, building tension and dread throughout the show, without wearing the audience out. He is supported by a set design (by David Rockwell) that keeps the action in the two venues tight and focused, switching seamlessly between the bar and apartment and giving the audience more information that the characters. This technique brings the audience into the piece, with full knowledge of the lies and desperation of the characters.
Little Doc slowly strips away the veneer of invulnerability from Ric, a charming young man, with the soul of a punk and bully. It forces Ric to confront the consequences from his life choices, something everyone must do at some point.
The Rattlestick Theatre, June 11 – July 18, 2010
Cast list: Adam Driver, Salvatore Inzerillo, Steve Marcus, Tobias Segal, Billy Tangradi, Dave Tawil and Joanne Tucker
Rating: Well Worth The Money
What works: Intense moments of excellent acting and a slow burn
What doesn't work: The story might be too remote for some
What you get to brag about to your friends: The first play by a great film maker.