note: entire contents copyright 2002 by Beverly Creasey
Reviewed by Beverly Creasey
Roonan Noone's gritty new drama "The Blowin of Baile Gall" sparkles with gallows humor and bristles with fisticuffs. "It's just our way," explains the only woman in the play, as the men bare their knuckles for the umpteenth time.
All the gloriously flawed characters in this second play of Noone's Baile trilogy are involved in renovating a house for a wealthy English lady whom we never see. The general contractor --- Derry Woodhouse in a nifty turn as a self-serving, self-loathing prig --- has hired an old rival (Billy Meleady at his best --- and slimiest) who's working while he's collection unemployment (among other sins); a reformed bad boy (Ciaran Crawford gives gives a searing performance as this jittery "born again"); and --- without making "Blowin" an "issue play" --- Noone introduces a West-African laboror into the all White mix. This serves to infuriate his rival, giving him the excuse he was looking for to engage in some foul play.
Aaron Pitre gives a commanding performance as the ostensible outsider ("blowin" means outsider) who exacts retribution for the wrongs done him in the name of patriotism. Noone gives us plenty to think about. BUT best of all is Susan McConnell's cheeky earth-mother in a tool-belt --- the woman everyone wants on their side.
Wesley Savick's tightly directed production zips along, even though Noone has given his cautionary tale several endings in rapid succession (all of which worked, surprisingly enough!)
Noone's eagerly awaited third in the series will play at Boston Playwrights' Theatre in spring.