Along for the Ride, In Pact Theatre Company, at Organic Theater Company Greenhouse Lab Theater. Randall Wheatley’s dreary dark comedy begins with an unpromising premise–two brothers spend half the play driving to their estranged father’s fishing cabin to pick up his frozen corpse and the other half driving back with the body in the backseat–and fails to find even a kernel of originality in it.
Two minutes into this two-act, nearly two-hour play we know that the brothers–one a successful ballplayer, the other a loser who works in a paint store–will spend the rest of the show fighting and whining and poking through the warm ashes of the past looking for minor childhood betrayals. The loser resents his brother’s success, his brother’s hurt–blah, blah, blah. I don’t think I’m giving anything away when I say that before the play’s over they’ll hug, admit they love each other and their difficult father, and agree to bury the past.
If you found a pair of brilliant comic actors who could wring laughs out of even the most cliched dialogue, this play might be moderately amusing. But director Devon Schumacher has only a pair of OK actors–Gerry Daly and Mark Vallarta–both of whom make the mistake of focusing on Wheatley’s banal character development to the detriment of his slightly less banal comedy. –Jack Helbig