Theatre Mirror Reviews - "The Lonesome West"

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note: entire contents copyright 2001 by Beverly Creasey

Wonderful Wild "West"
at Sugan

Reviewed by Beverly Creasey

I'm still giggling over the Sugan's darkly mean spirited comedy "The Lonesome West" --- and feeling a little guilty about my mirth. If you saw "The Beauty Queen of Leenane" by the same author last year at Sugan, then you know how funny murder and mayhem can be. The two plays are linked: they're two-thirds of Martin McDonagh's Connemara Trilogy about some severely disturbed folk in that small Irish village.

If Sam Shepard were Irish, his "True West" might have been "Lonesome". The two brothers in McDonagh's tragi-comedy engage in fisticuffs over the most mundane subjects. The piece de resistance is one brother's meltdown over, well, a meltdown. Saints preserve us, there's even a priest who loses it big time ---"in a crisis of faith".

Director Carmel O'Reilly has great fun with the physical comedy in the script, especially when the brothers "step back" to diffuse their anger. Of course it only escalates the ill will. Kin McDonagh's wacky show potato chips are held hostage, and appliances are assassinated.

Colin Hamell and Billy Meleady are perfection as the fratricidal lads. Hamell has a glint of Grand Guignol in his eye and Meleady has the look of an insane leprechaun. Barlow Adamson as the priest is daffily off-center, struggling in vain to regain his composure. Bethany Ann Macdonald is deliciously cheeky as the brash teenager who only wants someone to love her.

It's all so sordid....and all so silly. "The Lonesome West" can best be described as a guilty pleasure. Don't deny yourself.

"The Lonesome West" (1 - 24 November)
Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont Street, BOSTON, MA
1 (617) 497-5134

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide