It is often difficult for theater audiences to get in to the Irish plays that are presented as the language is often difficult to understand. yes, it is English that we hear, but with the thick brogues that actors bring to the table, we often lose some of the words that have been written to carry us along the path of what the playwright wanted to tell us. Aston Rep, in their current production, “The Lieutenant of Inishmore” Makes Martin MCdonagh’s story easier to follow than most other productions I have seen. Ye, the actors do have fairly heavy Irish accents, but under the direction of Derek Bertelsen, on the smaller stage at The Raven Theatre Complex, I found it easy to understand the story.
What is the story? you might ask, and that would be a great question. The story is about a man, a member of the Irish National Liberation Army, hearing that his cat has taken ill, coming home to find out just what has happened. It turns out, Padraic (John Wehrman) is not quite all there, mentally, and what we now find is a strange adventure into what has taken lace, who is responsible and how can revenge be taken to satisfy his needs.
This is a comedy of sorts and during the 80 plus minutes of yelling and torture, we do find some very funny moments. Our main characters are a sort of family and the fine cast assembled does an excellent job of keeping us involved in the storyline despite a couple of cats that do not seem as real as the one that takes a curtain call. One of the characters, James (deftly handled by newcomer Scott Wolf) has a complete scene hanging by his legs, upside down so to speak. While the blood may be rushing to his head, he remains in character for the entire scene.
It is a farce of sorts as we see lots of craziness between the characters and what they must do to survive the furor of Padraic. The cast is solid and deserves mention for the quality work they bring to this production: Matthew Harris, Tim Larson, Scott Olson,Chadwick Sutton Robert Tobin and the adorable Nora Lise Ulrey. Great job of staying in the mood of the story and allowing us, the audience to understand what it is you were saying. There are lots of gun shots in the play, but the rifle shots were a little pingy, almost cap-like) so that did hurt the overall production.
The set (Jeremiah Barr, who also handled the myriad of props that were very real, for the most part), the lighting (Samantha Barr) along with the sound (Ray Kasper) and costumes (kClare McKellaston) and the fight choreography (Robert Tobin) all were important to the overall picture painted by the directory and the feeling that this is a low budget production never materializes. In fact, it is hard to believe that the tickets for this production are a mere $20 ( only $10 for seniors and students) or very close to the price of a movie tickets for a live theatrical experience. Only in Chicago!
“The Lieutenant of Inishmore” will continue through November 23rd at The Raven Theatre Complex, 6157 N. Clark Street (at Granville) with performances as follows:
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.
Sundays at 3 p.m.
To order tickets call 773-828-9129 or visit www.astonrep.com
There is free parking at the lot next door, some free street parking as well and some metered parking on the street. The Clark Street bus does stop at the door.
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “The Lieutenant of Inishmore”.