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Tensions mount in an ad agency as two men wait to see who's getting the ax, in this skillful play by Malachy Walsh

Wednesday, Aug 14 2002
Malachy Walsh's new play about a copywriter and a graphic designer preparing to get axed from an ad agency owes a lot to David Mamet. The terse dialogue, the insider's take on a business, and the sleight of hand Walsh uses to unveil a rotten situation are all tricks from American Buffalo and Glengarry Glen Ross. The two men comprise a crumbling partnership, a kind of bad marriage between the uptight careerist in a dress shirt and pleated slacks (Paul, played by James Cutts), who can be efficient but cruel, and the earnest, muss-haired married guy (Matt, played by Chris Pflueger) who just wants to be friends. Walsh's humor and suspense are character-driven, and the actors tangle skillfully, but the tension sags after we learn which half of this "creative team" is about to lose his job. I think Walsh is reaching for a play about hubris that doesn't quite come off. Still, his "candid look at just how small life in a cubicle can get" isn't as familiar or dry as it sounds, and Walsh deserves to be watched.


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