The Lonesome West | Gift Theatre Company | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

The Lonesome West The Short List (Theater) Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 19 2010

Anglo-Irish playwright Martin McDonagh is famous for sordid comedies about violent, stupid small-town Hibernians who self-medicate on an epic scale. This 1997 script, part of McDonagh's Leenane trilogy, makes a pretty good case in point. It follows the near-constant brawling and imbibing of the Connor brothers--simpleminded Valene and undiagnosed sociopath Coleman--whose old da just got his head blown off. But there's also a surprising amount of tenderness in Sheldon Patinkin's staging for the Gift Theatre. A scene between an alcoholic priest and the moonshiner's teenage daughter, in particular, is a fascinating moment of decency in the comic mayhem--though, of course, it doesn't last any longer than Coleman and Valene's attempt to resist braining each other. The production is compromised by a couple of poor casting choices, but John Kelly Connolly excels as Valene, always checking Coleman's eyes to find to see what subtext lurks there. --Tony Adler

Price: $20-$30

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