The Lonesome West
by Martin McDonagh, directed by Chris Berchild, set designer and artist Kristy Benson, costume designer Michelle Souza
ISU's New Theatre
July 8-20, 2016
Martin McDonagh’s The Lonesome West at Terre Haute’s Crossroads Repertory Theatre is a deeply human, touching, violent and funny couple of involving hours in the theater.
The Lonesome West is set in the poor Irish costal village of Leenane.
Central to the play are Andrew Behling and Brandon Wentz as Valene and Coleman Connor, a couple of battling brothers. At one point the two agree that they “like a good fight” and there’s plenty of that in the play.
In addition to the brothers there’s Drew Hampton as the sad Father Welsh. He’s frustrated because in a community where everyone seems to know that at least two murders were committed, all anyone will confess to is drinking too much and swearing. The town’s single policeman simply gave up and walked into the ocean. Father Welsh is an alcoholic but he claims that he never drank until he came to Leenane. Rounding out the cast is the sprightly teen ager Girleen Kelleher, Alexandra Miles. She’s one of the brighter lights of The True West and she’s the local bootlegger’s delivery woman.
Behring and Wentz do a superb job as he Connor brothers. They seem to delight in antagonizing one another. If there’s nothing to fight about at the moment one or the other will dig up an insult or a grudge from years ago to exploit or gleefully apologize for. Sometimes it’s a verbal battle, and at other times either direct physical confrontations or sabotage. At one point, Valene actually fires a double barreled shotgun into their kitchen’s stove. There seems to be a lot of love mixed in with the mayhem and a good bit of the dark comedy which drew laughs from Sunday afternoon’s audience.
As a bit of a respite from all the battling the father and Girven have a scene by the water. Although Drew Hampton did an eloquent job with his long monologue, he was off stage and I found my mind did wander a bit. Girleen’s clear concern and perhaps love was nicely handled by Miles.
The plot of The Lonesome West is neatly handled and does work, but it’s the texture, the language the grit of the characters’ lives that make it such a rewarding piece of theatre.
Chris Berchild directs with design and execution by Kristy Benson, costumes by Michelle Souza, lighting by Natalie Spoerle and sound by Alec Stunkel. Molinda Ellis keeps track of all the props.
The Crossroads Repertory Theatre’s production of The Lonesome West continues through July 20th in repertory with Avenue Q, Boeing Boeing and their Musical Cabaret.
At the theatre for you, I’m George Walker