Most of us know to delete desperate e-mails from strangers begging for money. But in Karl Gajdusek's smart, entertaining Greedy, when well-to-do cardiologist Paul gets an e-mail from a woman offering millions of dollars in gold artifacts in return for the $100,000 needed to escape her evil brother, he takes the bait. Presented by the Obie-winning company Clubbed Thumb, Greedy is the first of three plays offered at this year's Summerworks festival (next up are Jordan Harrison's Amazons and Their Men and Amy Fox's One Thing I Like to Say Is).
By Karl Gajdusek
66 Wooster Street
(closed; festival continues through June 23)
Full of snappy, clever dialogue and, at times, laugh-out-loud comedy, the play successfully bounces along from one subplot to the next. While Paul (whose naiveté is perfectly portrayed by Dennis Fox) dreams of what he'll do with his money (Bora Bora!), the con artist, Kiera, is busy suckering her nice unemployed brother, Louis, into playing the bad guy. Meanwhile, Paul's sexy Bosnian trophy wife Tatiana plots to steal a baby from the hospital where Louis's mannish, Budweiser-loving wife Janet (the talented Kelly McAndrew) works as a security guard.
Drew Barr capably directs the solid six-member cast on a set that moves smoothly between Paul's Restoration Hardwareesque kitchen and Louis's raggedy apartment, among a few other locations. Gajdusek, though, relishes subtlety too much in his storytelling, skimping on character motivation and leaving some pertinent details frustratingly unanswered. But it happily all pays off in a nerve-wracking conclusion where lovable Louis and Janet, the least greedy of the group, surprisingly wind up holding all the dough. Too bad real life is rarely so just.