Trust the Irish to put a bit of grain in the eggnog.
“An Irish Carol” from the Keegan Theatre is sweet and cheerfully profane, a modest little 80-minute riff on Dickens set in a dingy, modern Dublin pub.
This new play by Matthew J. Keenan is best when nothing much is happening … On Christmas Eve, a handful of locals toddle into a struggling bar run by an old sourpuss named David, and Keenan’s writing gets its energy from the friendly foul-mouthed ribbing that passes among the regulars. Of course, the cause of David’s crankiness gets dragged into the light, and lo, his spirit doth elevate in time for the great day.
… there’s something agreeable about the company “An Irish Carol” provides.
Mark A. Rhea’s low-key production matches what Keenan’s script offers — an emphasis on understated banter, the mud-in-yer-eye jests the lads toss around over hoisted pints and whiskeys. The actors are mostly unfussy and sincere, with David Jourdan doing especially warm work as a good-time character who delivers a lot of jokes and exposition.
Rhea’s simple set in the Church Street Theater is a densely decorated old bar; it’s Dickens through whiskey glasses.
That’s the show: as diverting and consequential as a pop into the pub.