In her fur coat and doughnut-size earrings, Samille Basler steals the show as Mrs. Gottlieb, the mother of a dead son whose cell phone lives on in "Dead Man's Cell Phone," which opened Friday at the Village Playhouse.
Sarah Ruhl's dark comedy is impeccably directed by Keely Enright, whose first-rate cast moves at dizzying speed, whether in a church, where Basler lip-syncs "You'll Never Walk Alone," as cell phones ring throughout the sanctuary, or in an empty cafe where a young woman, Jean, answers the cell phone of Gordon, a man at the next table, and realizes that he is dead.
Keeping Gordon's phone, Jean, beguilingly played by Angela White, makes it her job to genially explain to callers what happened.
She then meets Gordon's brother, tenderly played by Josh Wilhoit, and the Other Woman, a flamboyant Stacy Rabon.
"I wish I had spent my life trying to love him (Gordon) instead of wishing he were someone else," says his wife Hermia, stoically portrayed by Susan Kattwinkel.
After Jean learns that Gordon is buying organs on the black market and selling them to Americans, she tries to explain to a hostile woman in Brazil that in the United States organs are donated "out of love."
But the question most asked is: How did the dead person view me?
And Jean is ever-ready with her lies, except when she actually visits Gordon (Dave Reinwald) in purgatory (turns out it's a laundromat).
Don't miss this brilliant play, which will be running through March 20 in Mount Pleasant.