LETTERS TO EDITOR
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A CurtainUp Review
Boss Grady's Boys
|Is your brother well? --Mr. Reagan
My brother is a well, deep stony and dry. I throw stones into the poor man that echo with a lost, deep sort of echo. I love him, I love his idiocy
--Mick about his gentle brother Josie
Thomas Toner & William Andrews
(Photo: Dave Cross
After seeing last season's Irish Rep production of Sebastian Barry's Our Lady of Sligo, the 78th Street Lab and Organic Theatre Company's mounting of Barry's Boss Grady's Boys seemed like a not to be missed opportunity to savor more of this playwright's poetic and character rich work. Despite a sound production and solid performances, not to mention the play's successful history in Ireland and elsewhere, Boss Grady's Boys fails to rise to the level of satisfaction that Our Lady of Sligo provided. The script is riddled with confusing elements and, for all our open-armed welcome to Irish plays, this one is not likely to be embraced by American viewers.
That's not to say that Boss Brady's Boys is lacking in merit. Barry draws a vivid and often affecting picture of two elderly brothers living an isolated, co-dependent existence on a forty-acre hill farm on the County Cork/Kerry border. William H. Andrews who plays Mick and Tom Toner who plays Josey can't be faulted for their portrayal of the brothers. They capture the full measure of these men's loneliness and mutual affection and the way memories and regrets hang over their daily rituals. Director Ina Marlowe neatly steers us from present to past and from reality to fantasy. However, short of altering the script, there's little she can do to make either the meandering into the past or the dream sequences escape the tendency to be a muddle from which our attention tends to wander. Except for the dead father (Bob Sonderskov) the subsidiary characters (despite very decent acting) further muddy our understanding when they should be intensifying the story line.
According to a letter to the audience in the program, Mr. Barry is especially glad to see his play directed in New York and with American actors because he feels this adds to "that sense that the play's events are happening everywhere and nowhere, and not particularly in Ireland, though its references and landscapes are Irish." Unfortunately, this universality is more wishful thinking than fact.
Our Lady of Sligo
|BOSS GRADY'S BOYS
by Sebastian Barry
Directed by Ina Marlowe
Cast: William H. Andrews as
Mick Grady and Thomas Toner as Josie Grady; also
Alfred Cherry, Kay Michaels, Corliss Preston, Margo Skinner, Bob Sonderskov, Meghan Wolf
Lighting, Sound Design: Eric Nightingale
Costume Design: Moira Shaughnessy
Dialect Coach: Susan Cameron Running Time: 2 hours, including one intermission
78th Street Theatre Lab with Organic Theater Co., 236 West 78th
St. (at Broadway) 212- 873-9050.
3/22/01-4/14/01; opening 3/25/01.
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays
at 8:00 PM and Sundays at 7:00 PM -- $15.00. ( $12.00 for students and seniors and TDF vouchers
Reviewed by Elyse Sommer
based on 3/29 performance