If you need a ringmaster for your show, one who will make you smile, gee you along, then turn the temperature controls to ice cold and chill every molecule of your blood, Francis Jue is pretty unbeatable.
In David Henry Hwang’s Soft Power, he played “DHH,” a version of the playwright himself. In Cambodian Rock Band, part-play, part-rock concert (which opens Monday night at Signature Theatre, to March 15), he plays Duch, a real-life figure. A math teacher turned—in Prospect’s words—“Pol Pot’s chief executioner,” Duch was one of the Khmer Rouge’s most feared commanders, whose interaction with Chum (Joe Ngo) back in the 1970s forms the dramatic heart of the show.
Just wait for Jue as Duch to still want to charm you into laughter, even after he reveals who he is.