You might never have had the opportunity to hateTweet your way through an episode of The Newsroom had Aaron Sorkin not written A Few Good Men, the chewy military courtroom drama that hit big on Broadway in 1989 and at the movies in 1992. Twenty-five years later, the play that made Sorkin a beloved and then divisive brand still cuts a dashing figure in its dress whites, and Jeremy Skidmore’s new production for Keegan Theatre has a physical kineticism to match its author’s impressive (and self-impressed) verbal brio. The show runs nearly three hours with intermission…Yet it never lags. Buzz-cut young men in fatigues run in formation and sing marching songs over the scene changes, and if these interstitials become repetitive, it’s seemingly by design, a successful bid to convey the rigid patterns of military life.
[Maboud Ebrahimzadeh’s] confident, winsome performance, admitting just the right glimmer of doubt, proves him plenty capable of carrying a big show on his shoulders. Brianna Letourneau is commanding, too, as the Internal Affairs lawyer prodding him to do right by his clients, even when they are, from his point of view, uncooperative. Yes, she’s more a midwife for the betterment of the male lead than a fully developed character in her own right, but Sorkin’s woman problem is less glaring here than in things he would write later, perhaps because the story is set in the predominantly male society of the armed forces.
Steven Royal’s split-level set is dominated by a huge, felled American flag that spills its stars and bars all over stage left like a gut-shot Marine leaking blood…At first it seems hopelessly goofy. But if one chooses to take the play as a warning of the dangers of the military becoming a self-selecting, extremist caste rather than a cross-section of the nation it defends, that kicked-over flag looks less and less like an overstatement.