With all that, the show is a blazingly entertaining, funny ride nearly all the way through. Though director Daniel Aukin hasn't worked with the Amoralists before, he, like the newcomers among the cast (especially Ms. Paras), takes to the company's antic comic style like a native son, staging the many quick-shifting scenes with exquisitely timed overlaps aided by Natalie Robin's clever lighting and Phil Carluzzo's skill with sound, from muted old jukebox hits to explosions.
Mr. Ahonen has a rare ability to create complex stories that are simultaneously bracing fun and about something. The play comments smartly on capitalist drive, corrupt politics, environmentalism, and Occupy Wall Street among other issues. Even with a jumbo cast the Amoralists maintain their usual standards of high-quality acting and crisp staging, while keeping both the punchy entertainment and the quirky meanings lit throughout. The Bad and the Better runs through July 21 at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater (in the Playwrights Horizons building) on W. 42 St. For tickets and more information visit the Amoralists' website.
Photos by Monica Simoes. This page: Nick Lawson and Regina Blandón. Previous page: David Nash and Anna Stromberg.