Tautly directed by Mikey Myers, Chazz Palminteri’s darkly comedic and suspenseful play opens with a pajama-clothed Margaret (Reamy Hall) tied to a chair, held at gunpoint by Tony (John Collela), a mafia hit man hired by her wealthy husband, Jack (Jim Roof). The phone becomes a character in the play, as Tony awaits a two-ring signal indicating that Jack has established his alibi. But the black-clad assassin is having an existential crisis concerning his sister’s recent death, and keeps calling his neurotic therapist, at whom Tony repeatedly yells, “Stop crying!” The downcast Margaret finally asks Tony to kill her — he owes her as much since he interrupted her suicide. The events unfold on Siegfried Ackermann and Ryan Wilson’s understated yet well-appointed set. Myers’ fast-paced direction is well-matched to Palminteri’s rapid-fire dialogue, which is expertly handled by the three-person cast. Roof is particularly hilarious as the once-cocky and now discombobulated husband. Ruskin Group Theater, 3000 Airport Ave., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; through Nov. 16. (310) 397-3244.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Sept. 26. Continues through Nov. 23, 2008