The Lonesome West – Civic Theatre – Review


Lonesome West – Civic Theatre – Review

We meet Coleman after he returns home following the death of his father, a death he may have had a hand in! It was an accident, or so they say. He shot his father after he slipped with a gun, and he has his brother Valene to back up his version of events. The local priest, Father Welsh, is there with them. He is a troubled man, not least because of the amount of violence and murder in his parish. Coleman and Valene start a new life without their father but the two brothers have no love for each other and Father Welsh fears they may come to a sticky end!

This play was written by Martin McDonagh in 1997 and is part of his Leenane (Connemara) trilogy, along with The Beauty Queen of Leenane and A Skull in Connemara. All three of the plays have similar themes of violence and murder in the west of Ireland. McDonagh has since moved into film making and won an academy award for his short film Six Shooter before writing and directing In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths.

The set has the hearth of an old farm house, with a chimney and mantelpiece, where Val stacks his collection of Saint statues. It’s more of an obsession than anything religious, and it is done mostly to annoy his brother. It is a difficult piece for actors, with lines delivered at break neck speed, but the cast deal with it well, with the two main characters of Val (Denis Foley) and Coleman (Martin Lucey) keeping the show on the road.

This production by Blood in the Alley theatre company is well constructed and focuses on the humour in the piece. The initial scenes work well, but after the interval the play really steps it up a gear and the battle between the two brothers hits a new level. The text is crude and racist but is pumped with humour of an irreverent kind. The characters exist in a world where arguments escalate into wars in seconds, and you’re always waiting for it to boil over. The ending doesn’t quite live up to what went before, but there’s a lot of fun getting to that point. It’s an impressive production of one of McDonagh’s finest.

Presented by Blood in the Alley Theatre Company
Written by Martin McDonagh
Directed by Geoff Gould

Lonesome West – Civic Theatre – Review



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