THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN, Martin McDonagh's wonderful Irish story, echoes the actual filming of Robert J. Flaherty's 1934 "documentary," "Man of Aran." We are transported to the westerly side of the Emerald Isle to the Island of Inishmaan, the middle of the Aran Islands. Inishmaan is all a buzz to hear the local news via the bombastic JohnnyPateenMike
(Stephen Caffrey) whose daily rounds of reporting the news are paid with goods from those on the island who don't find his stories boring. We find him in the general store of Kate and Eileen (Rhonda Aldrich and Julia Fletcher) whose banter enlivens us to the accents and rhythms of the play in such a way as to fall in love. They are the adopted "aunties" of Cripple Billy (Ian Littleworth) whose parents were lost at sea just after his difficult birth. Sadly his birth defects have made him a target for bullies and cast him as a loser. Billy is a reader and is plagued for his efforts by the relentless local
Hellion: Helen (pretty Emily Goss) whose potty mouth and genuinely scary demeanor pretty much have the rest of the residents of Inishmaan on guard. Her poor brother, Bartley (Sebastian Fernandez) falls victim to her rants and attacks through out. His desires for "sweeties" (thus the cast names of Yalla Mallows and Fripple Frapples) is sweet and endearing in it's silliness.
Photo by Geoffrey Wade Photograph
|Ian Littleworth and Emily Goss|
Photo by Geoffrey Wade Photography
We meet BabbyBobby (John Bobek) as he prepares his curragh to sail to the neighboring island, Inishmore, where Flaherty's filming is going on. Helen and Bartley hope to be in the movie and Billy sees his chance for fame as well.
A hilarious side story blossoms wth Johnnypateen having attempted to kill his Mammy (Anne Gee Byrd), with drink over many years. His being in debt to her factors in as the story progresses. Long suffering Dr. McSharry (John Allee) attempts to curb the alcohol with little effect.
John Iacovelli's superb set with projections by Kaitlin Pietras and Jason H. Thompson bring the rustic scene together perfectly.
There's little subtly in director Steven Robman's movement and rhythms .. the feeling of the Auld Sod permeates the show with a distinct feeling of authenticity. JohnnyPateen's bombast sometimes goes well over the top, but we find, in time, that as he is the catalyst for all of the goings on that it's appropriate and funny. What with the simplicity of the characters and the odd interchanges, it's a play that one can appreciate for its superficial romp and then, re-examine for the beauty of the language and the sincerity of the bittersweet characters.
As my ancestors come from just up the way from the setting of the play, I'd have loved a live preshow with bodhran and pennywhistle to guide us into the theatre, but recorded music sufficed and begorrah, a good time was behad be all.
Antaeus Theatre Company presents
The Cripple of Inishmaan by
Directed by Steven Robman
Kiki and David Gindler Performing Arts Center
110 E. Broadway
Glendale, California 91205
Through March 11, 2019
Through March 11, 2019
Tickets and information
818 506 5436
The play is double cast.
Watch this space for another review of the Fripple Frapples soon.