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Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012

‘Microcrisis’ Mines Laughs from Financial Collapse

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Mike Lew's Microcrisis is a deeply entertaining comedy about global finance. The interpersonal dynamics that drove the recent international financial collapse are succinctly played out in a fictional piece for the stage. Next Act Theatre opens its season with this dynamic comedic production. The Milwaukee premiere takes place amid a beautiful set designed to resemble the back of a U.S. dollar. Video screens fluidly establish location and mood.

Lew has each of the major characters embody a different dynamic that helped to cause the financial collapse. David Cecsarini stars as raw ambition in the equation, a banker who sees an opportunity to make a lot of money and goes for it. Cecsarini deftly renders the comic charisma of a man who knows what he's doing and knows how to make other people work for him. His first big manipulation takes place with an intern (played by Alexandra Bonesho) at a nonprofit lending organization in Africa. Bonesho plays the well-meaning youth who ends up being corrupted by ambition. It's a delicate transformation, and she manages it with sympathetic grace that appeals on a number of levels. Michael Cotey plays an Ivy League tech head drawn into the process by the lure of money. Cotey is fun in a straight-ahead comic role that manages to avoid a number of clichés. The rest of the cast plays multiple roles.

breezes across the stage in less than two hours, without intermission. The production runs through Oct. 21 at Next Act Theatre, 255 S. Water St. For ticket reservations, call 414-278-0765.