Review: Dry Powder at B Street Theatre

Hot tip: Don’t try to argue with the word “fired”!

Hot tip: Don’t try to argue with the word “fired”!

Photo courtesy of B Street Theatre

Showtimes: Thu 8pm, Fri 8pm, Sat 5pm & 9pm, Sun 2pm, Tue 6:30pm, Wed 2pm & 6:30 pm. Through 4/29; $27-$46; B Street Theatre at the Sofia, 2700 Capitol Avenue; (916) 443-5300;
Rated 4.0

Playwright Sarah Burgess calls her play Dry Powder a comedy. B Street Artistic Director Buck Busfield, who also directs this play, calls it a drama akin to the shows presented on the B3 Stage at its old location: Funny, yes, but thought-provoking.

Leveraged buyouts, limited partnerships, Dodd-Frank and Goldman Sachs—the dialogue is a lot of financial speak, but you soon get the gist of it.

Dave Pierini is Rick, head of a Wall Street private equity firm in the midst of a public relations nightmare as one of its holdings laid off a ton of workers, just as Rick held a million-dollar engagement party in Bali, complete with elephants. “Just one!” he insists. Still, it’s a problem desperately in need of a fix.

Seth (Jason Kuykendall), a managing director of the firm, brings a potential solution—equitable and ethical—but rival manager Jenny (Melinda Parrett) suggests a more cutthroat approach.

The characters are stereotypical, but the acting is superior. Pierini is apoplectic as the flummoxed boss; Kuykendall engenders sympathy as the lone voice for the little guy; Parrett is ice-water-in-her-veins calculating as a woman who crushes opponents as easily as she crunches numbers. As Jeff, the little-guy rep of the proposed acquisition, Jahi Kearse could be victim or villain.