Keegan Theatre, a local company with affinity for all things Irish, has chosen to mount [A Couple of Blaguards] to open its fall season. Director Colin Smith wisely allows the McCourt brothers’ words to be the focus rather than superfluous production elements. Mark A. Rhea’s set design, resembling that of a modest, ordinary venue for drinking and socializing, assists in setting the tone.
Without two strong actors that are capable of portraying the brothers…it’s likely that production success would be harder to achieve. Thanks to the charm and acting talents of Timothy Hayes Lynch (Frank McCourt) and Robert Leembruggen (Malachy McCourt), it’s much easier to forget…and just immerse one’s self in the relatable, and often times funny, story that is conveyed in simple words and songs.
…They take on other characters in their lives- family members, bosses etc.- with simple and quick prop (Carol H. Baker and Katrina Wiskup), costume (Emily Riehl-Bedford), and vocal changes or adjustments. Leembruggen is particularly successful at channeling their Irish mother, while Lynch shines in taking on his employer in New York.