“Unlikely Heroes” a Remarkable Debut Play
By Skip Sheffield
From out of nowhere comes playwright Charles Gluck mounting his first play in a full-fledged production continuing through Feb. 21 at the black box theater of Mizner Park Cultural Center.
Dr. Charles Gluck dreamed of a life in theater, but he deferred to his parents’ wishes and became a doctor specializing in gastroenterology. Now after retiring nearly 30 years into his practice he has gotten his wish. It is called “Unlikely Heroes” and it is a comedy-drama about a Jewish family beset by sibling rivalry, deceit, self-loathing and contempt. Did I mention it was a comedy? At first, yes.
Leo (Michael H. Small) is the blowhard older brother of David (Avi Hoffman) and head of a company that manufactures girls’ dance wear. Leo has a tendency to take on more than the company can produce and let his younger brother deal with it.
David had not been very successful in life before his brother took him in and gave him a second chance. David has an overbearing wife Mindy (Margot Moreland) and a simmering resentment of his domineering brother. The couple has a classic slacker of a son Bradley (Robert Johnston), who is 27 and spends his time in the basement playing video games.
Leo has a pretty wife Susan (Patti Gardner) who tries her best to be Susie Homemaker, but is terrified of growing old and childless.
The brothers have a younger sister Gail (Kim Ostrenko) who opted for a career rather than marriage and now wonders at age 50 if it was all worth it.
The play turns on a major revelation in Act Two which affect all family members and turns the comedy into a biting life-and-death drama.
“Unlikely Heroes” is a remarkable first effort by an unproved playwright. Director Avi Hoffman has cast some of the best actors South Florida has to offer. The standout is Michael H. Small as a caddish, deceitful egotist who is brought low by circumstance. Each character has his or her say-so. A revelation is Robert Johnson’s Bradley, who does not have much to say until his emotions explode.
“Unlikely Heroes” is performed briskly and tickets are just $35. Call 800-595-4849 or go to UnlikelyHeroesPlay.tix.com.