If you stick with Mad Anthony Theatre Company’s production of “Any Given Monday,” you will be amply rewarded. Overall, the show got off to a rocky start opening night, but the second act fulfilled the play’s promise. The plot gets started with a potentially trite action – wife cheats on husband, possibly ending a 20+ year marriage. Husband Lenny, very well played by Chris Kramer, is devastated. He is a Good Man (everyone says so) who would never do the same to his wife, and all he wants is to have her back. He and his friend Mickey talk while watching Monday Night Football on TV – hence the title of the play. This is an insightful observation by playwright Bruce Graham; serious talk can flow easier if people (maybe especially men) can pretend to be distracted by the screen. The long first-act scene between the two friends is played out, rather than acted – that’s how well each actor slips into his role. Daniel C. Britt’s Mickey is rough and cynical from his long-time job on the subway. He spends his days observing all kinds of people, and none of them escapes his sarcasm. Mickey’s lines account for many of the laughs in the show, although sometimes they are cheap laughs based on bigotry and laced with profanity. It is in this first-act scene that the real plot of the show takes off, and the second act provides more twists that can’t be revealed without spoiling the pleasure for future audiences. You know an audience is totally involved when, as on opening night, there is a collective gasp at a revealing and well-played piece of stage business. Bekka Eaton as wife Risa shines in the second act. The actress is very ill-served in the first act, by her placement at an ill-lit edge of the stage and the badly chosen costume for her first appearance. By the end of “Any Given Monday” we are pondering some big ethical and moral questions about honesty, death, good and evil, introduced by the fourth performer, daughter Sarah, adequately yet awkwardly played by Allyson West. Post-show discussions may well start with “What would you do?” and that is the mark of a thoughtful script well played.
It must also be note that the newly renovated theatre is warm and welcoming, and a visit to the Fitton Center always provides additional opportunities to enjoy art shows. There are three new installations which you will also enjoy.