If your taste in humor runs to dark comedy, you’ll want to head out to The Keegan Theatre before too long. Director Colin Smith’s expertly paced production of Martin McDonagh’s latest – the first to be set in the US – is due to close April 7.
The director has the main actors slow down the line readings to better understand the playwright’s strange world and get the laughs, accomplishing both. Mr. Smith, who also designed the set, and Tony Angelini’s sound capture the mood in a big way: a dingy, flop of a room that makes the Bates Motel look elegant, matched with trippy, atonal music that stretches the bar and tamps down the tempo, start the show.
Mark A. Rhea plays Carmichael channeling The Dude, purveyor of cryptic wisdom and “the thousand-yard stare.” Costumer Kelly Peacock has got him dressed down – like the other characters – to the point that the bedspread looks smart in comparison.
Bradley Foster Smith’s take on Mervyn is something to behold. This monkey-loving hotel receptionist with a hero complex comes from another planet, if not universe, and the actor creatively locates him. Mr. Smith steals every scene he is in, but his solo verbal and physical perambulation in the second one, nicely accented by Megan Thrift’s surreal lighting, is a monologue for the ages.
Laura Herren and Manu Kumasi playing the low-life Marilyn and Toby are joined at the hip when this dark tale takes screwball comedic turns. Ms. Herren’s weapons focus and Mr. Kamasi’s phone skills are as emotionally grounded as they are funny.