What do you do when your brother rips you off? What if it is in the midst of a $1.5 million heist? In Carla Ching’s Fast Company, Blue (Stephanie Hsu) has always wanted to be a grifter, but her mother shut her out of the game, so Blue has enrolled in Brown to study “Game Theory.” However on her first con she loses the mark to her brother, H.
Born into a family of con artists, the one code of ethics is you do not “break code.” To get help, Blue goes to her brother, Francis (Chris Larkin) who has retired from the game to become a Las Vegas magician. Francis insists they call in their psychopathic mother, Mable (Mia Katigbak) who has schooled them all to trust no-one and is the biggest hustler of them all. Together they set up a con to bring H (Moses Villarama) back and get back the stolen copy of Action Comics No. 1, where Superman first appeared, which goes for $1.5 million. The plan was to switch it for a counterfeit copy, return the original leaving the owner none the wiser. H is a compulsive gambler who betrayed his sister in order to save his life. Confronted by the mother, H gives up the comic book as she takes up the betrayal and the con continues.
This game gets twisted, while being turned into a Mad Hatter’s tea party of misdirections. The audience laughs and thrills to this carnival ride of manipulation and greed, spinning rapidly to its effervescent conclusion of how families exploit vulnerabilities for their own selfish motives.
Director, Robert Ross Parker keeps this show moving like a crisp anime action flick. This ensemble of Asian actors is charismatic, likable and believable in a comic book kind of way. If you liked American Hustle, or the TV show Leverage you will love Fast Company.
Fast Company: Ensemble Studio Theatre, 549 West 52nd Street, through April 6th