Reviewed by Judy Richter
Playwrights Dan Hoyle and Tony Taccone combine all these elements through the two main characters, Vinnie (Marco Barricelli) and Alvin (Craig Marker), who share a passion for fantasy baseball and the San Francisco Giants. They're watching a game in the media room of a Los Altos mansion while hoping to talk with an investor who'll fund their idea for a new enterprise -- insects as a tasty, protein-rich, environmentally friendly food in the United States. Vinnie has even prepared two plates of spring rolls made with the critters.
While they wait, they're visited by Bob (Mike Ryan), who's not as innocuous as he seems at first; Glen (Cassidy Brown), the party's host and an avid environmentalist; and Beth (Nisi Sturgis ), Glen's wife. Alvin knows Glen and Beth from college.
Barricelli's Vinnie, a cab driver, is rumpled and not too polished. Marker's Alvin, an unemployed Wall Street type, is better dressed and smoother. Both have urgent, almost desperate reasons to turn their idea into a money-maker.
Director Rick Lombardo nicely orchestrates the action by the excellent actors despite shortcomings in the script. One is that the arguments between Vinnie and Alvin go on too long. Another shortcoming might be a director's choice, and that's toward the end of the 90-minute, intermissionless play, when the two men get involved in a food fight. People in the front rows might be hit with flying bits of rice and lettuce (no bugs, though).
Glen's enviro-rap is a bit much, too, although his whale imitation is terrific.
The set by John Iacovelli reflects the mansion's elegance, enhanced by David Lee Cuthbert's lighting and Lombardo's sound. Costumes by Denitsa Bliznakova are well suited to the characters.
Hoyle, known as a solo performer, and Taccone, artistic director of Berkeley Repertory Theatre, have a sound premise for the play, but it needs some refining and perhaps refocusing.
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