The East West Players, L.A.'s primary Asian-American theater company, has never been afraid to explode stereotypical casting in such non-Asian-specific theater as "Godspell" and "Company." But seldom has it challenged the murder mystery genre, especially one loaded with thick British accents.
Rupert Holmes' comedy-thriller "Accomplice," which is set in a cottage in the moors and relies heavily on an upper-class English dialect, is certainly not a play you'd expect to see cast with Asian-American actors. But in this age of multiculturalism, why not?
In an earlier, insensitive time, Marlon Brando played an Asian character in "Teahouse of the August Moon," and we all know about the casting brouhaha in "Miss Saigon." By staging "Accomplice," the East West Players at least plays it straight and doesn't attempt any cosmetic artifice.
For a play as tricky as this, the performers do have to act very British, both in body language and voice. Dialect coach Heidi Helen Davis did her job well. The four-member cast, under debuting director Francois Chau (who also designed the richly appointed stone-field manor set), is quite good at the British stuff, especially since it's intended to appear a little unreal anyway.