Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Brendan"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

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note: entire contents copyright 2007 by Robin McGuire


Reviewed by Robin McGuire

Ronan Noone is the new Huntington Theatre Company 2007 season star with his second production in 2007. Based on an immigrant Noone knew in Allston, Brendan --- aptly played by Dachiell Eaves in the starring role --- chronicles the life of a five-year “new” American Irishman.

The first scene begins with Brendan receiving a letter from his sister in Ireland stating his blessed mum has died. Brendan’s mum appears frequently throughout the play as his conscience, offering more than motherly advice regarding work, friends and romances. Through his mother we see who Brendan really is, a frightened boy who struggles with women and the trials of being an immigrant in America building a new life.

When his friend and driving buddy Stevo is suddenly killed in a car accident, Brendan runs to the local pub for comfort. Instead of attending Stevo’s wake at the airport, he chooses to drown his sorrows at his favorite neighborhood pub.

Quickly Brendan’s mind is focused on purchasing a car and driving lessons. He enlists his “friend” the local prostitute, Maria, splendidly portrayed by Kelly McAndrew, stealing many of her scenes with a mixture of grace and honesty.

Brendan, at his mum’s assistance, finally meets his American girl (Rose), ironically enough also shy due to a scar on her face. Noone implies but doesn’t quite address the possibility Brendan’s scar on the inside is just as open and visible as Rose’s.

Billed as a comedy, Brendan is more drama with a few comedic scenes thrown in. Noone manages to find the juxtaposition between the old (Ireland) and the new (America) nicely. Brendan is a delightful play and all in all a good way to spend an evening.

"Brendan" (12 October - 17 November)
Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street, BOSTON, MA
1 (617) 266-0800

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide