Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Dark and Stormy at Little Fish

Martin McDonagh is an Irishman.  There is a dark history of the Irish.. drinkin' and whathaveye.  His play, The Lonesome West reminds of this limerick. It pretty much sums up the Connor boys, Valene (Bill Wolski) and Coleman (Cylan Brown).

"There once were two cats of Killkenny
Each thought there was one cat too many
So.. they fought and the fit 
And they scratched and they bit
Until .. except for their nails 
And the tips of their tails
Instead of two cats
There weren't any! "
Bill Wolski and Cylan Brown.  Photo by Mickey Elliot

The absurd meets the fantastic in McDonagh's 1997 play and a trip to San Pedro had better be on your agenda, if seeing what is pretty much a straight play is of any interest to yas at all atall. 

The lilt.. of the English language has never been more lyrical than in the speech patterns of the Emerald Isle. Having enjoyed The Cripple of Inishmaan recently at Antaeus Theatre Company in Glendale, hearing these well tuned actors filter into the rhythms that McDonagh creates beautifully is simply delightful, though the battle of the Connors carries on and on and on a bit.  Delightful is Eliza Faloona as Girleen.. a hot seventeen year old with mischief and the good Fr Welsh (Brendan Kane) on her mind. 
Eliza Faloona  and Brendan Kane Photo by Mickey Elliott
Directed by Stephanie Coltrin, The Lonesome West is the third play in McDonagh's  Connemara Trilogy.  As I am coming late to discovering McDonagah, the first two will be interesting to read, if not lucking into seeing productions.  

There's a lot of hair in this show.. And, it all adds to the feeling of authenticity that the cast brings to it.  To do an analysis of beards and curls would be a good project for any student of these characters. 
The off hand way that McDonagh presents the brothers.. as well as Fr Welsh and Girleen, sending them willy nilly into one another is at once charming and sad.  The evolution of  each of the characters is the essence of the story, unfolding in bursts of passion and moments of pure love.  

How do those of us who love one another redeem ourselves when we've behaved not just badly, but despicably? And, on purpose? McDonagh questions the 'rules' of the Catholic Church. How is it that there is redemption for those who confess to any manner of mayhem but...  for the suicides there is only Hell to pay.  Murders are confessed to.  And, there are suicides. It's very dark comedy with a thoroughly committed cast.  The pathos of loss and the question of redemption leave the audience to determine for ourselves what's fair, what's not and in the end, the sad situation of the Connor boys whose best efforts go for naught. 

If for no other reason than an immersive evening that will leave you with as many questions as answers, The Lonesome West is highly recommended. 

The Lonesome West 
by Martin McDonagh 
Little Fish Theatre
San Pedro’s Arts District
777 S. Centre St., San Pedro, CA 90731
Ticket Range: $15 - $28
Prices above do not include a $1 ticket service fee
Discounts Available for Groups of 10+
Discounts for Seniors 65 and over ($26) and Patrons 25 and under ($15)
Box Office: 310.512.6030

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