The Los Angeles Times
Written by Jana J. Monji. Thursday, June 4, 1998

Dan Fante's play about power and sex-driven telemarketers electrifies.

With more schmooze than Johnny Cochran and an
unfailing ability to script his conversations in charming sales
lingo, Eddy Kammegian (Douglas Coler) commands his First National
Copier Products telemarketing team. They are "an elite assault force"
that cold calls and overcharges clients from a small Santa Monica
office in Dan Fante's "Boiler Room" at the Actors Art Theatre. Director
Jolene Adams takes full advantage of this venue's cramped quarters
and the sonorous voices of her well-tuned acting ensemble to create
a high-voltage, high-volume production.

Once "one of the biggest drug dealers in West
Los Angeles," Eddy specializes in training "desperate people" to
become predators-because predators are winners. Eddy "reverse brainwashes"
former drug dealers and addicts into becoming conniving telemarketers
with ready-made lies for all occasions.

In the midst of a heated sales competition,
with a trip to Paris as the top prize, Eddy encourages a despairing
new recruit (Phinneas Kiyomura),indoctrinating him in the winning
formula: Make every call a sales call, try early in the sale to
make a close, close on every resistance, keep on closing.

When an attractive graduate student (Susan Ziegler)
asks to study his entrepreneurial tactics, Eddy is distracted from
his sultry employee-mistress Judy (Adelaide Vaughn) and the growing
dissonance within his sales force.

Top salesman Freebase Frank (Frank Uzzolino)
suspects that Doc (Marty Levy) will make a last-minute win under
murky circumstances for the third consecutive year. Frank confronts
the sales manager, Dallas (Jimmie F. Skaggs), about his suspicions
with unsatisfactory results.

Fante's script uses overlapping dialogue that
echoes the "master closing formula" like a mantra that eventually
imprints itself into the very consciousness of each employee. Sex
and power propel these characters as much as the caffeine they need
to sustain their continued physical momentum.

Coler is smooth and believable as a man whose
sincerity has been obliterated by his own hype. Even in his private
life, romance is just another sale. Vaughn plays a sexual predator
to be reckoned with, while Uzzolino's Frank is on an indignant testosterone
rage. Kiyomura is the innocent being slowly seduced and molded.
Skaggs' Dallas is a man who tries to have it all and ends up with

Adams directs this whole ensemble into a frenzy
of macho bluster and posturing, each one oozing with oily charm.
Carefully orchestrating the simultaneous conversations and the physical
in your-face attitudes of these slimy barracudas, Adams captures
the heat of greed and the pressure of the constant noise, bringing
it to a furious boil.