Thursday, 4 September 2008

Lonesome West, Sept 4, 2008 ***1/2

 Lonesome West
By Martin McDonagh, by Dynamite Theatre
Theatreworks,  until Sept  21, 2008
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
Stars: ***1/2

If you see Martin McDonagh’s film, In Bruges, you will understand his brutal but comical Irish characters. Lonesome West, like the first two plays in his Leenane trilogy, is a grim and twisted story about dysfunctional people living in the isolated west of Ireland. 

We peer through the windows of the Connor brothers, Valene (Luke Elliot) and Coleman (Ben Grant), into the home they share since Coleman shot their father in the head.

Yes, they are brutal and idiotic with control issues but McDonagh makes them hilarious and charming in a perverse way. Imagine the Beverly Hillbillies in Ireland. The direction (Gorkem Acaroglu OK) misses some of  the rhythms of the play but Elliot and Grant are compelling, credible and funny as the cloddish, bickering brothers. Their comic timing is clever and they capture the brutishness of these Irish louts.

McDonagh is not simply writing Pulp Fiction in Ireland. The play has a poignant edge. Irish Catholicism is tainted in this village where people use murder instead of therapy to solve family arguments or suicide to escape their angst and confusion. The priest (Mark Tregonning) is driven to drink – and there was not far to  drive in this town.

By Kate Herbert

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