Are There Ethical Financial Misdeeds? Little Fish Excavates Theresa Rebeck's Dead Accounts

Leigh Kennicott Reviews - Theater

If a crime occurs and nobody finds it, is it still a crime?  That’s what Rebeck’s Recession-era play, Dead Accounts, seeks to unravel.  She locates the play in the wilds of Ohio, far from the scene of the crime: Jack (Doug Mattingly) surprises his family after a long absence.  He doesn’t seem to register that his father lies dying in another room, even though his mother, (Gerry Fuentes) and sister (Selena Price) assume that was his reason for coming home. He seems evasive, restless, and jumpy, although ready to share his stash of pain meds. But, Dead Accounts exposes more than family relationships.


I always hate to say too much about a plot, because Theresa Rebeck is a master in dropping breadcrumbs to help us along the journey. Watching the events unfold, putting together clues as the characters interact – that’s the joy of witnessing a really compelling story as it deepens. In Rebeck’s revealing style, the family banter soon settles into revelation, as layer upon layer peels back the truth of Jack’s life. In the process, a little matter of 27-million dollars knocks over the family’s traditional values of right and wrong.  The ending will leave you wondering…what would you do if you had 27-million dollars that no one owned?


Branda Lock (who also claims prop credit – all those ice cream cartoons and pizza boxes!) keeps the momentum going through the crescendo of the first act, and into the revelatory second act.  She has developed a tight-knit group of actors – from Mattingly’s frenetic Jack; Price as Lorna, his highstrung sister; and Fuentes’ befuddled Mom – to Casey O’Keefe as Jenny, Jack’s glamorous soon-to-be-ex-wife, and Karthik Srinivasen as Jack’s best friend, Phil. The show is produced cleanly in Little Fish’s inimitable style with its traditional suburban home configuration (designed by Tristan Griffin) that takes advantage of the elongated stage area. Costumer Marlee Candell gets it right from Jenny’s early-2000s chic to Lorna’s messy t-shirt.  Lighting by Bruce Starrett answers the specifications of the space, but Rebeck’s rather opaque ending triggers a tree “gobo” as the only anachronistic note.

Dead Accounts continues Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 PM, Sundays at 2:00 PM through June 9th at Little Fish Theatre, 7777 Centre Street, San Pedro 90731. Tickets, $28; Seniors $26; and Whale & Ale Dinner/Theatre Tickets: $45. For reservations and ticketing, phone (310) 512-6030 or text (424) 203-4707.