Marine Corpse

Now you can guess who wins, especially if you've seen any episode of Matlock or Perry Mason. The story twists and turns slightly, just enough to please the lowest common denominator, but not enough to confuse anyone without imagination. Sorkin even hammers home a premise of sorts: What is honor? What is duty? Do the men who guard our lives and freedom have the right to run amok from time to time? It's the old should-Richard-Nixon-stand-above-the-law question.

Director Kenneth Kay does a brilliant job of staging, seamlessly orchestrating a cast of twenty, a few chairs, and a desk. He also draws acceptable performances from everyone except Loretta Shanahan, who plays Galloway in such a shrill and wooden manner, you almost want to side with the old-boy bullies. As the main brute Jessup, Robert E. Riley projects the perfect amount of self-righteous sociopathology; and in a small role, Jeffrey Blair Cornell acts with honesty as Weinberg. Billy Langley as Dawson manages to express perfectly a military rigidness and still allow a strong hint of sensitivity to peek through -- a fine feat. As for Caldwell veteran Bradbury, who takes the showy lead role of Kaffee, he always has the same effect on me: nothing spectacular, almost overacting, but so ingenuous, zippy, and attractive, he seems more than ready for his own television show.

Basically, it doesn't matter whether you see A Few Good Men as a play or a movie, so I suggest the film version. It's cheaper, it will have more special effects, and the acting may be slightly better -- and you can even save on gas.

A FEW GOOD MEN by Aaron Sorkin, directed by Kenneth Kay; with Peter Bradbury, Loretta Shanahan, Jeffrey Blair Cornell, Kenneth Kay, Billy Langley, Robert E. Riley, Tom Disney, Jim Ryan, Peter Haig, Prudencio Montesino, Tyson Stephenson, Tom Wahl, Clarence Thomas, John Archie, Brandon Adams, Colin Jones, Vincent Larusso, Albert Leon, John Sama and Michael Strano. At the Caldwell Theatre Company, 7873 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton, through December 13. Performances Tuesday -- Saturday 8:00 p.m., Sunday 7:00 p.m.; matinees Wednesday and Sunday 2:00 p.m. Tickets cost $20. Call 462-5433 or 407-241-7432.

Santiago's heart problem kicks in, his lungs startto bleed, and no soonerthan you can say sadism, he dies.

STAGE NOTES
There's little doubt that Kurt Weill remains one of the the greatest geniuses in musical theater and in many ways the inventor of the modern musical. But Berlin to Broadway, the revue of his work created by Hank Kaufman and Gene Lerner, now condensed quite a bit at New Theatre, won't enthrall everyone. Weill's work with Bertold Brecht -- e.g., The Threepenny Opera -- reeks of historical significance, marvelous originality, and clever mood switches, but to the younger among us it plays more like thunder and heartburn.

When the music of Weill shifts from pre-Nazi and Nazi Germany to Broadway, where he used his operatic skills to expand the light musical form, the entries pick up, with such luscious numbers as "September Song" (lyrics by Maxwell Anderson) and "My Ship" (lyrics by Ira Gershwin). Here was a time when lyrics meant poetry and flowed flawlessly with the music. (Think the opposite of Paula Abdul.)

As for the cast there's one reason to go -- and her name is Kimberly Daniel. Majestic, convincing, and unveiling a masterful set of vocal chords perfectly suited to the work, Daniel truly hypnotizes and, through her great talent, reduces her fellow singers -- David Alt, Sally Cummings, and Rafael de Acha, and her competent pianist, Harry Richardson -- to a faraway second best. If you like or want to like Weill, see Daniel do him justice at New Theatre until December 13. Call 443-5909 for more info.

Finally, I have to add that Culture Clash -- brought to the Colony Theater by the Miami Light Project -- was brilliant, original, and one of the funniest things I've witnessed since Belushi's days at SNL. Happily, the house filled up, which to me means Miami stands ready for more than one night of challenging, cutting-edge material. This trio of Latin performance artists -- Richard Montoya, Ric Salinas and Herbert Siquenza -- takes apart various aspects of the American experience and its impact on second-generation Latin culture -- but never from a predictable viewpoint. Their material arrives via left of left field. Imagine a cheap Santeria doll bringing back a befuddled Che Guevara, or a macho gang banger going to Heaven where he becomes an angel holding up the Virgin. Imagine writers and performers with imagination. Go, Miami Light Project -- and bring more.

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