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Realism enhances ‘Men’

Jose Ruiz

“You can’t handle the truth!”

That famous line from the film rings true again in the Los

Angeles premiere stage presentation of “A Few Good Men,” from Birdman

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Productions and Old Country Productions at the Third Stage in

Burbank.

Playwright Aaron Sorkin’s (“The West Wing”) taut, crisp writing

unfolds a study of honor, duty, discipline and racism set in the

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Marine Corps base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where two Marines are

accused in the unexplained death of a private. Lieutenant j.g. Daniel

Kaffee, a Navy lawyer, is assigned to provide a defense, primarily to

satisfy the legal requirements before the men are sentenced and

imprisoned.

In preparing the case, Kaffee uncovers an unofficial ritualistic

practice, called Code Red, had been ordered on the private by the

commander, who then orchestrates a cover-up that results in bringing

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down several high-ranking officers and threatening the very fiber of

the Corps.

The authenticity created by director David Blanchard as he leads

the huge cast is enhanced by a cleverly maneuvered set that morphs

from an office to a courtroom.

Joel Berry as Kaffee is excellent as a cynical playboy who finds

truth can be a powerful converter and Dick DeCoit totally captures

the corrupt commander’s attitude.

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Angela Pupello and Jason Harris deliver excellent performances as

the defense team, and the rest of the cast is wonderfully convincing.

Whether in camouflage fatigues or in crisp dress blues, the actors

look and sound like enlisted men and women, and, by the end, you’re

ready to enlist.

Sorkin’s script explores corruption and arrogance disguised as

loyalty, and a false sense of righteousness that tramples over the

very truths that it’s supposed to preserve.

A top-notch drama at its compelling best, this bristling study of

opposing wills keeps the audience riveted to every word and scene.

This is a must-see show, provided you can handle the truth.


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