For a witty, dialogue-driven comedy, Dead Accounts has a considerable amount of intrigue.
Showing up in the middle of the night at his childhood home in Cincinnati—where his parents and one of his sisters reside—Jack (John Carlin) is flush with cash. Why is he so fast and loose with his money—an affront to Midwestern values—and why is his wife conspicuously absent during this unannounced visit? After he hightailed it out of the Ohio for the glamour and opportunity of the Big Apple, Jack now sings Cincinnati’s praises. Why the change of heart? And though his father is bed-ridden with kidney stones again, the father’s malady apparently had nothing to do with Jack’s visit.
Jack’s sister Lorna (Mary McGloin) is his foil. She never strayed far from home and—though she lost religion just like her brother did—she did not lose her sense of morality. While Jack won’t even go upstairs to see his father, Lorna has been helping their mother care for him.
Lorna is out to get the answers that the audience is craving. She puts the thumbscrews to Jack, and gets their numerous siblings on the telephone. McGloin does a great job of hinting at the other, unheard side of the phone conversations.
Between brother-sister and mother-daughter interactions that yield boisterous laughter, details emerge that suggest something sinister has happened. Despite Jack’s insistence that everything he says is the truth, can he really be believed? It is assumed he became successful after he left Cincinnati, but spending $1,000 to get some ice cream and pig out in his parents’ kitchen seems over the top.
Dead Accounts frequently contrasts Midwestern values with East Coast sensibilities, though never in a preachy manner. It seems like it was more than a coincidence that on Thursday, the same night Hampton Theatre Company opened the play in Quogue, Donald Trump was defending New York values at the Republican presidential debate in South Carolina. Senator Ted Cruz said New York values “focus around money.” Jack would agree with that assessment.
Carlin, who made his debut with Hampton Theatre Company last winter in Time Stands Still, has great command of his character, and delivers the best laughs as Jack makes observations about his hometown, and obfuscates the truth. McGloin is a standout performer as Lorna, punctuating the humor of playwright Theresa Rebeck’s brilliant writing. Hampton Theatre Company veteran Diana Marbury is their mother, Barbara, who can never hide her disappointment and seems to worry too much—though maybe, considering what Jack appears to have done, she should worry more.
Rounding out the cast are Peter Connolly as Phil, Jack’s old friend and Lorna’s love interest, and Rebecca Edana, whose arrival is unexpected. The play was in the very capable hands of Andrew Botsford. No one would ever guess this was only Botsford’s second time directing; he made his directorial debut in Quogue last year with Heroes.
Showtimes are Thursdays and Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. through January 31. There will be a talkback with the actors and director following the Thursday, January 21, performance. Tickets ($30 general admission, $25 seniors, $10 under 21) may be purchased in advance at hamptontheatre.org or by calling 866-811-4111. Tickets may also be purchased at the box office before curtain time at Quogue Community Hall, 125 Jessup Avenue, Quogue.