It’s almost November: Do you know where your scandals are? In Robert William Sherwood’s crude political comedy Spin, now at the Wilma Theater, campaign manager Jerry (Adam Grupper) doesn’t, but he’s about to find out.
It’s the day before the primaries and Jerry’s client is up 15 points in the polls. There’s no way he can lose. That is, until the opposition discovers some dirt on the senator’s wife. What is this scandal? And does it really matter? Not if Jerry and his conciliatory assistant Elizabeth (played by the smart-witted Jennifer Childs) can get their hands on it.
As the ruthless campaign manager, Grupper truly captures the essence of modern politicians: sweet and charming one moment, sarcastic and insulting the next. The combination of Grupper’s candid delivery of lines and his animated facial expressions are priceless, leaving the audience to wonder, is anything sacred to this guy?
Equally phony is the senator’s wife, Alexandra (played by the shrewd and calculating Barbara Gulan). As Senator Henry, Steve Brady is delightfully complacent. Nothing can ruin the senator, unless he commits the big political no-no and starts to actually think for himself. Janis Barbaris, as Mary, is the campaign manager for the political opposition. Barbaris lacks the power her character needs to be fully convincing, but her sense of manipulation is distinct.
Blanka Zizka thoughtfully directs the Wilma’s American premiere of Sherwood’s caustically funny play. Completing the production are Janus Stefanowicz’s straightforward costumes, John Stephen Hoey’s subtle lighting, Eileen Tague’s charmingly satirical sound design, and James Kronzer’s Alice-in-Wonderland-like set.
Spin runs through October 22 at the Wilma Theater. Broad and Spruce Streets. 215-546-7824. Tickets are $7-$38.