My daughter's and I just went to see Lou Diamond Phillips and Jensen Ackles in "A Few Good Men" at Casa Manana in Fort Worth. The theater itself went through a major renovation recently and was very comfortable. The acoustics and seating is set up so that there are NO bad seats, even for a production that is built around dialogue. No song and dance in this show! But plenty of histrionics! I mean that as a positive statement.
The production was well done. Professional and enjoyable. The set was minimalist and intriguing, the technical aspects of the production were integral to moving the story from scene to scene, with lighting and the simple set pieces being adapted.
The actors worked well together and off of each other to build the proper tension as well as using comic moments to relieve that tension at the proper times. The timing was great. The main characters, protaganist and antagonist characters, Kaffee and Jessup were played by Jensen Ackles (Dean Winchester from Supernatural) and Lou Diamond Phillips (from movies and TV). They were well matched and very talented at building and working the tensions of the plot.
Ackles played the charming, cocky, but insecure Lt. Kaffee with skill and energy. His comic timing was great, He handled the dramatic change in the character with skill and aplomb. Ackles delivered a very talented and stirring performance with all of the charm and energy of Tom Cruise's original portrayal of this same character. He kept the audience rivetted with his own take on the "maverick" officer learning to trust his own abilities, reach for something inside of himself and rise to the challenge.
Lou Diamond Phillips did an excellent job making his own the complex character of Jessup, a character made iconic by Jack Nicholson. He carried the audience along with him in developing a strong military leader with a misguided sense of honor and duty. He handled the confrontational scenes with dexterity, subtle menace and even humor. A great performance.
The supporting cast was wonderful. Lydia MacKay, Ben Rauch, Sean McGuirk, Jeff Schmidt and Ayal Miodovnik did a great job making the military characters more than just caracitures. I was especially impressed with Ben Rauch as Ltjg Sam Weinburg and Sean McGuirk as Capt. Matthew Markinson. They were perfectly cast.
The two actors cast as the Marines on trial were also perfectly cast and well-acted. Justin Arnold played PFC Downey sympathetically, perhaps even empathetically since the actor WAS a Marine and honorably discharged, and with careful understatement. Jerome Bethea played Lcpl Dawson with stirring energy and talent. He handled what could have been a cardboard character with subtlety and skill.
This was a great production!