A Few Good Men centers on a military legal team also defending young Marines, Lance Cpl. Harold W. Dawson and Pfc. Louden Downey (Jon Hudson Odom and Adi Stein, both spot on), who are charged with hazing—and, in Sorkin’s telling, killing—one Pfc. William T. Santiago (the immensely moving Nathaniel Mendez). The ranking officer on the three-member defense team is Lt. Cmdr. Joanne Galloway (the crisply effective Brianna Letourneau). Even as we laugh through Act One at Sorkin’s trademark repartee, we watch engrossed as Galloway parries and thrusts over tactics and legal maneuvers with her two male colleagues, LtJG Sam Weinberg (the touchingly nebbishy Michael Innocenti) and LtJG Daniel A. Kaffee (Maboud Ebrahimzadeh), whose impressive range builds in Act Two to its own emotional detonation.
The second act revolves around the trial—which by now is steeped in so much suspense that the nearly two-and-a-half-hour performance flies by faster than a fleet of jets. The prosecution…is headed by Capt. Jack Ross (the intriguingly intense Bradley Foster Smith). Among witnesses called to the stand is the slightly befuddled Cpl. Jeffrey Owen Howard (played with scene-grabbing humor and pathos by Kevin Hasser). Finally, as evidence and tensions mount, the defense team calls the base commander, Col. Nathan Jessup (played with gruff grit by Mark A. Rhea), who turns out to be their pièce de résistance: Prefaced famously by the line “You can’t handle the truth!,” Rhea’s meltdown-implosion as Jessup becomes a stun gun.
Directed by Jeremy Skidmore with the tight precision of a drill team, the entire production takes place on a multilevel set that features a humongous tipped-over flagpole from which a colossal American flag once proudly waved…but now lies inert over nearly a third of the stage. Could this provocative scenic design by Steven Royal be sending the incendiary message that our nation’s flag has fallen?