By Mae Hunt | [email protected]
The Little Theatre of Alexandria’s production of “A Few Good Men” is a sharp, dynamic execution of Aaron Sorkin’s famous story. It’s something that longtime fans of the 1992 film, as well as newcomers, are sure to enjoy.
“A Few Good Men” follows Daniel Kaffee (Brendan Quinn), a military lawyer with a devil-may-care attitude and a specialty for plea bargains, as he is assigned to defend two Marines accused of murdering a fellow member of their unit. With help from his friend Sam Weinberg (Jonathan Mulberg) and the persistent Jo Galloway (Emma Wesslund), Kaffee discovers there’s more to the case than meets the eye.
You may already be familiar with the plot of “A Few Good Men.” In fact, you may be able to quote most of it from memory. Or maybe you’re like me, and your knowledge extends solely to one iconic line from the show’s antagonist, Nathan Jessep (David Kimmelman) – “You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!”
I’ve heard that line quoted and parodied more times than I can count, but it had a much different impact during the Little Theatre’s production. As expected from a Sorkin script, the energy of “A Few Good Men” relies on the actors’ abilities to deliver snappy dialogue with confidence and ease.
The entire cast does an impressive job. It was entertaining to watch Quinn and Wesslund trade barbs, and their banter caused the audience to burst out laughing numerous times. John Paul Odle and Jared Diallo were also excellent as the two Marines awaiting trial. They successfully communicated their characters’ strict senses of military discipline, making it even more intriguing to watch the masks slip.
Kimmelman made for an excellent villain as Jessep, delivering his lines with a mix of smugness and repressed wrath. It was fascinating to watch him make other characters uncomfortable, switching between calculated manipulation and sudden bursts of aggression before becoming fully unhinged. And when Kimmelman delivered that famous line, I think everyone in the theater questioned their ability to handle the truth.
The drama of “A Few Good Men” was enhanced by a concise set design. Director Kathleen Barth made excellent use of the space, and scenes flowed between the past and present with very little confusion. Props to the crew for designing the lighting in a way that emphasized certain tonal shifts from light-hearted to sincere.
“A Few Good Men” manages to be funny, gripping and thought-provoking all at once. The Little Theatre’s production is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat, whether it’s your first or 500th time watching the story unfold.
Mae Hunt is an arts and entertainment freelancer and can be reached at [email protected]
Correction: The print version of this article incorrectly listed the director as Carolyn Winters, not Kathleen Barth. The Times regrets the error.