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Timely political satire at The Abreact

By | 2018-01-16T02:14:34-05:00 June 26th, 2008|Entertainment|

Mike McGettigan’s second chapter of his “Desperate Losers” series couldn’t have come at a more opportune time for the playwright. Because I suspect he has the recent foibles of Detroit’s text-messaging and Messianic mayor to thank for some of its inspiration.
Originally created to bookend The Abreact’s 2007-08 season, the initial episode last fall introduced a ragtag group of slackers living in Detroit in the year 2012 who didn’t seem to notice or care that America had been slowly moving towards a dictatorship. Suddenly, a nuclear blast went off in Novi – and their lives were about to change forever.
Chapter two, which opened June 20, begins eight months later. Electricity is non-existent, and resources such as food and money are scarce. But surprisingly, the city’s casinos are still going strong – thanks to generators and a law enacted by Mayor Hebert that forces residents to spend 10 percent of their wages each month at the gambling tables.
Bertold, who loves a good conspiracy theory, assumes the Illuminati are responsible. The others, however, accept that the Mad Max-like mayor simply seized the opportunity to take control of the city and now runs it like his personal fiefdom.
None of them is happy about their situation, but only wannabe filmmaker Malcolm comes up with a plan to topple the mayor. Will the others help him? And will it work?
To be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to sitting through another episode of “Desperate Losers.” With a meandering plot and a level of scripting that fell far short of McGettigan’s earlier efforts, I couldn’t have cared less how the story ends.
But there I was on opening night, prepared to be un-amused. Instead, McGettigan delivers a sharp political satire that rarely misfires.
Especially interesting is his exploration of human nature – and its propensity to survive at all costs. (Some step up when faced with a crisis, while most cower and flip-flop in fear.)
A glistening performance is given by Dave Legato as Mayor Hebert. (One has to admire him for bravely going along with XI Wall’s costume choice.) Dax Anderson (Jack) and Sarah Switanowski (Cassie) are also fine, but Chuck Reynolds earned high praise on opening night for his quiet, but inspired reaction to a patron’s cell phone that intruded upon the action.
If there’s one problem with the plot, it is this: How could Malcolm’s film incite the masses to dethrone the mayor when there’s no electricity to broadcast or otherwise show it – except at venues controlled by the elite? And the short, final scene is extraneous.

REVIEW:
‘Desperate Losers Part 2: PWNED!’
The Abreact at Zeitgeist Gallery and Performance Venue, 2661 Michigan Ave., Detroit. Fri.-Sat., through July 12, plus Sun., July 6. Tickets: $10. For information: 313-247-5270 or http://www.theabreact.com.

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