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Review: Rebeck's 'Dead Accounts' lacks sharpness
The heavy lifting is done by Butz, who plays Jack, a banker who one day abandons his rich life in Manhattan for the calmer hometown sweetness of Cincinnati and his listless sister (Holmes), old buddy (a contained Josh Hamilton) and his slightly demented mother (a delightful Houdyshell). His chilly wife (nicely nasty Judy Greer) follows.
Jack is slightly crazed, buying too much ice cream and pizzas, sitting too close to people, spouting strange manic philosophy and flitting generally too close to the psychic edge. His sister puts it perfectly when she calls him "very a lot." The Act I curtain falls on the stunning reason he has fled.
Butz at first seems to be overcompensating for the smallness of Holmes, but the anguish and heart of his character are revealed beautifully. Butz makes Jack both lovesick in one moment and thunderously revengeful in the next, showing the complexity of a Midwestern boy in love with his local hot dogs and yet one who has grown comfortable in his plush steak-eating New York life.
But "Dead Accounts" doesn't really resolve anything or really end. It just sort of peters out, its momentum lost and none of its issues resolved. There's a halfhearted, last-second attempt to bring grace to Jack, but it's more of a Hail Mary-type pass, one born out of desperation. At the play's end, it feels like the audience itself should be handed quarts of ice cream as a commiserative olive branch.