Tag Archives: Ireland

A Matter of Wife and Death: Shining City and Molly, reviewed.

My reviews of Scena Theatre’s repertory of Irish playwright Conor McPherson’s acclaimed Shining City and the world premiere of George O’Brien’s Molly are in today’s Washington City Paper. You are alerted.

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SWAMPOODLE’D! Plus reviews of Keri Hilson at the 9:30 Club & The Moscows of Nantucket that I was too busy to link to last week.

Rachel Beauregard does not actually don boxing gloves in SWAMPOODLE that I can recall, but happily she does sing.

So, Swampoodle. A beautiful mess, is what it is. Bring your ear horn.

Also, I saw Keri Hilson play the 930 Club as the headliner of the WPGC Bithday Bash last Thursday night. The bill also included Lloyd and B.o.B., but my hopes for an all-star version of the Eastern Motors song were dashed.

Last Sunday, I saw The Moscows of Nantucket at Theater J. It’s good. More fun that that Fleet Foxes show, certainly. Continue reading

Unholy Trinities: Art and The Walworth Farce,  reviewed

Mitchell Hébert and John Lescault / photo by Scott Suchman

Art by Yasmina Reza; translated by Christopher Hampton
Directed by Matt Gardiner
At Signature Theatre to May 22

To frame things as reductively as possible, Yasmina Reza’s Art and Enda Walsh’s The Walworth Farce are both about two guys reacting to the alarming behavior of a third.

Admittedly, it’s a pretty slim commonality. Dinny, the tyrannical patriarch who runs the show in Walworth, is violent, delusional, sadistic—the very model of a modern major depressive sociopath. Serge, the catalyst of Art, is merely pretentious, dropping 200,000 clams on a painting that appears to his pals, and to us, to be a blank white canvas. “The resonance of the monochromatic doesn’t really happen under artificial light,” he explains, like an emperor protesting that his new clothes need only be brought in a bit.

Serge is a dermatologist by trade. That a surface unperturbed by form or color would call out to his soul is one of the better jokes here, which is to say this is neither the funniest nor the most insightful work ever to win the Tony Award for best play, which it did, or to follow its denouement with a deflating coda, which it does. Continue reading

Spectral Analysis: Kegan Theatre’s The Weir and Basra Boy, reviewed

Here’re my reviews of Keegan’s current two-fer of a recent (1997) Irish play and a brand-new one, Conor McPherson’s The Weir and Rosemary Jenkinson’s Basra Boy, respectively. I was pretty hard on their production of Golden Boy a few months back, so I’m glad these were better.

60 Miles to Studio City

What’s with the photos? Well, My City Paper review of the Belfast-set Kenneth Branagh play Public Enemy ran yesterday. It’s a confused and often confusing show, a very uneasy meld of character study and political parable. While writing about it I thought back to when I visited Belfast in May 2007.

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These political murals fascinated me. They were not subtle. The painting was often crude, the messages cruder. They were heartfelt as a heart attack, and they were everywhere. Continue reading

The Last Days of Disco Pigs

Solas Nua’s current production of Enda Walsh’s Disco Pigs runs only 60 minutes, and you’re relieved when it’s over. Not because it’s bad — on the contrary, it’s a work of sparkling, propulsive genius, astutely staged and brilliantly performed.

But know this: Its brilliance is of the combative, exhausting variety. Its pace? Frenetic! Its language? Formidable. Our protagonists/narrators, Pig and Runt, don’t communicate in mere Irish slang, but in their own intimate, infantile, often impenetrable argot, one that recalls the Russian-influenced dialect Anthony Burgess concocted for his novel A Clockwork Orange. (Malcolm MacDowell memorably cooed it while terrorizing London with his “droogs” in Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation.)
Continue reading

Three Guys Walk onto a Non-Metaphorical Dock: Quotidian Theatre’s “Port Authority”

Port Authority

James Flanagan, Steve Beall, and Steve LaRocque in Quotidian's Port Authority.

Conor McPherson’s unshowily devastating three-hander Port Authority is stocked with premises that are, summarized in their most reductive forms, utterly familiar: I Love Her But She Loves Someone Else, I Loved Her But the Flame Has Cooled, I Loved Her But She Died. So it’s a credit to McPherson’s humane, observant pen — and to the three adept actors who illuminate his material in Quotidian Theatre‘s local premiere of his 2001 play — that even when nothing much is happening, it feels like everything’s at stake.

Like so many other contemporary dramas out of Ireland, Port Authority is a tale told in cross-cut monologues. Continue reading