Accomplice: New York
nytheatre.com review by Robin Reed
October 29, 2005
Got family coming to town that you just can't figure out how to entertain? Have I got a great way for you to fill at least three hours!
Accomplice: New York puts those red double-decker bus tours to shame. It is an entirely interactive and creative game/scavenger-hunt/wild goose chase through Lower Manhattan. When was the last time you hit the South Street Seaport, City Hall, Chinatown, Little Italy, and Soho all in the same day?
This clever little show teams you up with a bunch of strangers as clueless to the devious deeds at hand as you. My experience began like this: I had given my cell phone number and was expecting a call before the show on Saturday afternoon to tell me and my group where to show up. Around midday on Friday an incoming call rang from a Restricted Number. I don't answer calls from Restricted Numbers—I've fallen for that one before and swore them off for good. No message. A few minutes later the phone rang again. Restricted Number again. This time, a few minutes later the little 'you've got a message' envelope appeared. Curious, I listened. A gravelly Tony Soprano-accented voice addressed me by my full name. "Robin Reed" he said, "I’m callin’ ‘bout that thing you’re gonna be helpin’ me out with that you don’t know nothin’ about." I was instructed to take down the information and then “take the phone and smash it with a hammer and throw the pieces in the river. Or hit delete”—although the smashing and throwing is his preferred method of getting rid of any trace of evidence of our agreement.
I would entirely ruin all the fun if I told you much more than that. But I will, just a little bit. I will tell you that in the midst of this fortuitous and unseasonably nice weather we’ve been having, I can’t really think of a better way to spend the day. Brother-sister team Tom Salamon and Betsy Salamon-Sufott really went all out to put this thing together and keep it all on the down-low.
We got to the corner where we were told to go, and found a couple of other bunches of people just like us—looking around, wondering if this was where they were supposed to be. Suddenly out of nowhere (so suddenly that two of my friends totally missed it!) an incognito slickster whizzed by us with nothing more than a “Psst!” and we were off. From there we were given photo clues to find our next spot—with the eventual goal of helping this concocted bunch of criminals get out of the country—we were to deliver plane tickets. A motley group of strangers we were, and we had to work together.
For the next three hours we worked together in bars (yeah, a couple of drinks and a small bite to eat are included!) and on the streets to find our clues and help the crooks. The clues were mostly simple, and what one of us couldn’t figure out, someone of the other ten of us did. I’ll still never figure out just how that girl from Park Slope just happened to recognize the Wingdings font!
Throughout the day we met the funniest group of pranksters, all partners in the crime from which they were running. And we helped them. That’s right—we got to each of them in a perfectly planned three hours. We fed them an exit, they fed us a good time!
I would like to credit the brilliant actors, whose quick, off the cuff improvisations keep you on your toes. James Feuer, Joseph Tomasini, Wade Alan Steele, Joe Luongo, Brendan Irving, and Lauren Potter each came out of the woodwork on the streets and in the bars and park benches of Lower Manhattan to help make our afternoon so fun. And special kudos to John Cannetella, who, to this day, I can’t believe was acting—it’s not often that I think I can be fooled, but he got me!
But just wait until Accomplice II in the Spring. I’ll be watching out for you clowns this time!! And the Salamons are looking to bring it to some other big cities soon—so watch your back!