This month Keegan Theatre explores the more farcical side of the business of Washington with The Outsider, a comedy by Paul Slade Smith, designed to remind us that “unqualified is the new qualified” in American politics.
The play is filled with funny one-liners slung at a rapid pace. “Was it the infidelity people objected to or the fact that he didn’t sleep with the winner?” one character wonders out loud about the governor’s resignation. … Mostly, The Outsider turns American politics into a laugh-out-loud whimsical farce, as if Oscar Wilde has come back from the dead to write an episode of The West Wing.
Standouts in the cast include Michael Innocenti as Dave, the sardonic chief of staff who exudes integrity and who has therefore never backed a winning political candidate. Lolita Marie — one of D.C.’s finest performers — is commanding as Paige Caldwell, a no-nonsense pollster who salivates over good exit numbers. And Susan Marie Rhea, Keegan’s artistic director, is hysterical as Louise Peakes, a temp agency employee whose charismatic cluelessness throws a wrench into everyone’s political plans.
The Outsider offers a satiric commentary on voters’ propensity to support candidates they can relate to, rather than candidates who actually understand what government does. As an evening of escapist entertainment, this show has my complete endorsement.