As the play begins, a gun-wielding Donaghy storms into the office of Raphael Cardozzo, a big-time drug dealer, demanding to know Lisa's whereabouts. It seems that Cardozzo not only sold Lisa drugs but also had a ruinous affair with her, and apparently his office has up-to-date records on all his old customers. While Angelica, Cardozzo's secretary-mistress, searches in the next room for information on Lisa, Cardozzo, captive in handcuffs, and Donaghy chat it up. The ex-con rhapsodizes about his love for Lisa, and in flashback we see their romance developing and then collapsing as Lisa sinks deeper into addiction. He also forces Cardozzo to telephone his wife and confess his affair with Angelica and periodically threatens to harm Cardozzo's two young daughters. The men further manage to go at each other in a nicely staged brawl.
Toward the end questions of blame come up—who's really responsible for Lisa's downfall—but they seem perfunctory. The play runs a scant 70 minutes or so, but some of the talk has the feel of obvious filler, despite Kimberly Faith Hickman's well-paced direction and a skillful cast.
Jens Rasmussen's trim, well-spoken Cardozzo may not be the most brutish mob boss around, but he has a menacing air of self-satisfaction that's quite effective. Kara Durrett believably limns Lisa's journey from fresh young thing to wretched addict, and Lucy Sheftfall imbues Angelica with an appropriately scary hard edge. But it's watching Martin bringing his own script to life with relish that gives the show its raison d'être.
Presented by Dodge City Entertainment at the Studio Theatre, 410 W. 42nd St., NYC. Feb. 22–March 3. Tue., 7 p.m.; Wed.–Sat., 8 p.m.; Wed. and Sat., 2 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m. (212) 239-6200, (800) 432-7250, or www.telecharge.com.