The opening production of the Bloomington Playwrights Project’s season is a deeply involving very funny play. Randy Noojin’s "The Complaint," directed by Noe Montez, is a scarey dark thriller, a hilarious romantic comedy and occasionally, a flat out farce.
Frankly it’s hard to tell you about a play that begins with a couple of cops talking "street justice" and ends with two of the leads doing a scene from Shakespeare’s "Much Ado About Nothing," but let me start with the characters.
Andy Alphonse was sympathetic as the Afro-American actor who’s filed a complaint about police brutality in a drug bust. Patrick Murphree was his friend, director and supplier. Frank Buczolich was a commanding figure as the brutal but still sympathetic old burned out southern law officer stuck in New Jersey. Mike Engberg played a young still idealistic police department internal affairs investigator. Emily Goodson…well sh was the fiancée of the internal affairs guy, a young woman who thinks that she’s already tapped the snooze-alarm on her biological clock. She was also a gung-ho red necked Texas born police cadet and a disappointed actress from Coney Island. Even among this strong cast of players Goodson’s work was a tour de force.
During the twists of the plot of "The Complaint," reversals followed reversals. Everyone, with the possible exception of the original complaining actor, seemed to have at least two games going. In the final scenes there were static moments when the audience simply laughed as we waited to find out what was going to happen next. It’s a show in which I wondered not only who was playing whom, but just who the heck whom was playing.
Randy Noojin’s romantic, thriller, comedy plays Thursday, Friday and Saturday at eight and Sunday at two through September 11th at the Bloomington Playwrights project, 312 South Washington.