Is it a crime to take money that’s gone unclaimed for years? Ostensibly, that’s the raison d’être behind “Dead Accounts,” Theresa Rebeck’s 2012 morality comedy starring Norbert Leo Butz and Katie Holmes that closed even before it could complete its 16-week limited run on Broadway.
Critics complained that Rebeck couldn’t make up her mind what “Dead Accounts” was about. But in this meticulous Hampton Theatre Company resurrection, director Andrew Botsford has figured it out.
The title refers to long-dormant bank accounts of people who’ve either died or simply forgotten where they left their money. Jack, a Cincinnati native and black sheep of his family, has unexpectedly returned home from Manhattan, where he was a highly remunerated bank employee. His sister, Lorna, who herself has returned home to care for her parents, suspects Jack is in trouble when he admits to paying a night floor mopper $1,000 for several pints of ice cream after business hours.
As Jack, John Carlin emits the motor-mouth impression that he’s high on various pharmaceuticals he carries around in his pocket. But he’s lucid enough to rationalize his behavior with a torrent of semi-plausible excuses punctuated by F-bombs that aren’t tolerated in this square Catholic household. Mary McGloin as Lorna exudes the self-inflicted frustration of a grown daughter living in her childhood home with her parents — dotty Mom and unseen Dad, who’s sick in bed. Diana Marbury, as the matriarch, demonstrates why she drives her daughter crazy as well as why Jack escaped to the parallel universe of Wall Street. Peter Connolly, as Jack’s old high school buddy who harbors a long-simmering crush on Lorna, represents Jack’s hometown past, while Rebecca Edana as Jenny, Jack’s soon-to-be ex-wife, epitomizes the material comfort for which he’s sold his soul. Jenny’s sudden appearance in the Ohio hinterland she despises leads to the revelation of Jack’s secret: He’s “stolen” $27 million from dead accounts.
Peter-Tolin Baker’s domestic set — complete with window panes frosted with age and a jump-rope phone cord that stretches across the stage (where can you find such an artifact today?) — is a character unto itself.
So what has director Botsford figured out in “Dead Accounts”? That life is more than accounting — “New York values,” to quote a current presidential candidate? Midwestern orthodoxy suggests life may be more about planting trees — or anything organic.