September 2, 2016: The Keegan Theatre opens its 20th season with the regional premiere of Theresa Rebeck’s What We’re Up Against, a scathing, ferocious comedy about sexism in the workplace. Set in a highly competitive architecture firm, What We’re Up Against takes an explosive look at the complicated battle of the sexes and one woman’s response when she tires of slamming into the glass ceiling.
McDonagh scripts their savage and macabre verbal sparring. Director Mark A. Rhea paces each round with knockout punch. Keenan and Smith play high-risk foils as if on a high-tension high wire. And Casey Kaleba tightly stages each fight with a startling mix of hostility and silliness … The Lonesome West is a fantastic ride.
This production, directed by Mark A. Rhea, the Keegan’s founder, leaves nothing whatsoever to be desired. It’s serious when it needs to be and funny the rest of the time, and the members of the cast make music out of Mr. McDonagh’s raucous dialogue. This staging was as convincing as anything I’ve seen at New York’s Irish Repertory Theatre.
Never underestimate the power of tonal contrast. Much of Martin McDonagh’s black comedy “The Lonesome West” depicts the simmering hostility between two Irish brothers: Coleman and Valene Connor have long indulged in outrages that include threats, blackmail, violent brawling, streams of profanity and the malicious mistreatment of potato chips. It’s misbehavior rendered amusingly in the Keegan Theatre’s lively staging of the play.