The pluck of the Irish

THE LONESOME WEST by Martin McDonagh, directed by Jackie Maxwell, with Benedict Campbell, Randy Hughson, David.


THE
LONESOME WEST by Martin
McDonagh, directed by Jackie Maxwell,
with Benedict Campbell, Randy Hughson,
David Storch and Tara Rosling. Presented
by CanStage at the Bluma Appel Theatre
(27 Front East). Runs to February 9,
Monday-Saturday 8 pm, matinees
Wednesday 1:30 and Saturday 2 pm.
$20-$69, some Monday pwyc and
half-price same-day rush. 416-368-3110.
Rating: NNN Rating: NNNNN

you think cain and abel had fra-ternal problems? Those differences were nothing compared to those facing brothers Valene (Benedict Campbell) and Coleman (Randy Hughson) in The Lonesome West, following the shooting death of their father and Valene’s inheriting of the entire estate. These two men feed on fights, both physical and verbal.They live in playwright Martin McDonagh’s Irish village of Leenane, which is peopled with just the kind of nasty, quarrelsome, darkly funny figures who make for good theatre, as McDonagh’s proven in a series of award-winning plays.

The brothers can’t be calmed down even by Father Welsh (David Storch) (or it is Walsh? Other characters can’t get it straight) or the alternately brash and shy liquor seller Girleen (Tara Rosling). The scariest moments of the play, in fact, come out of those rare times when Valene and Coleman are nice to each other.

Jackie Maxwell’s direction catches most of the work’s uncomfortable comedy, though I wish the production had more forward drive and sustained energy.

The same is true of Campbell’s Valene, a performance that has the quality of being acted rather than felt, especially in comparison to Hughson’s more rounded, spirited Coleman.

Rosling’s Girleen, whose sexual chat covers up her emotional need, is nicely nuanced, but it’s Storch who nearly steals the show as the disturbed priest perpetually confronting a crisis of faith.theatre reviews

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