MD Theatre Review: The Lonesome West

In this production, Rhae and his cast manage to conjure up a story that is both viscerally authentic and hyperbolically maddening at the same time. All characters are raw and complex, even as the circumstances around them and actions they take in response become increasingly fanatical and bizarre as the play progresses. Valene and Coleman best demonstrate this paradox—giving off isolated glimmers of humanity and heart between hateful altercations and violent tantrums. Smith and Keenan keep the audience on edge as they playfully jump between slapstick shenanigans, startling rage, and a few tender moments. This all compliments Stezin’s believable projection of a good-hearted, but troubled Father Welsh, a priest at the end of his rope in his efforts to mend the deep rifts that divide these brothers and the community. You can’t help but feel for the poor chap. Meanwhile, Chapin’s buoyant Girleen brings welcome joviality and pure likeability that’s a welcome relief in this otherwise erratic set of characters.

The set for this production, designed by Matthew J. Keenan and dressed by Carol H. Baker, feels as lived-in and authentic as the characters themselves, capturing the viewers’ gaze from the moment they enter Keegan’s intimate theatre space …

Cleverly written and directed and enthusiastically acted, The Lonesome West contrasts romping juvenile rough-housing with some of the weightiest of adult themes and questions, offering the audience multiple layers of engagement. Whether you want to explore the more contradictory clashes of human nature, or to simply laugh your head off at absurd situations and hilarious antics, this high-energy production is sure to leave you reeling.