Regional Reviews: Cleveland & Akron
A Skull in Connemara
The play is set in the village of Leenane, in Connemara, Ireland, where bodies must be rotated from the church cemetery to make room for new ones. The body, skull and bones, are placed in a burlap bag, then the grave digger says a prayer over the remains and tosses the bag into the a lake.
As the story opens, Mick Down (David Peacock) shares a drink with his neighbor Maryjohnny Rafferty (Linda Ryan). Rafferty has a reputation for playing too many boards on bingo night at the church. She frequently stops by her friend's house to sponge a free drink or two from Mick. Maryjohnny talks with Mick about his feelings about digging up his deceased wife's body and disposing of it.
Mick is pleased the church has hired someone to help him with his gravedigging job. Mairtin Hanlon (Nate Homolka), a young troublemaker, speaks without thinking and acts without a thought of the repercussions of his actions. One of the main issues is that Mick has been accused by local gossip of killing his wife and then placing her body in the car and driving into a stone wall. Mick insists the accident killed his wife.
When the time comes to dig up Mick's wife's coffin, Thomas Hanlon (Doug Kusak), a local police officer, is on site to attempt to get a confession from Mick. Thomas Hanlon isn't a detective and, according to Mick, he keeps his job only because he does a good job of helping the children cross the street on their way to school.
To tell more would spoil the story and the fun for audience members.
None too fragile has produced the other two parts of McDonagh's Leenane trilogy, The Beauty Queen of Leenane and Lonesome West, as well as his A Behanding in Seattle.
Martin McDonagh is an exceptional playwright. He brings exciting interesting twists to his plotlines and makes his characters interesting as they confront unique challenges.
The cast of this production is excellent. I've seen Linda Ryan in other productions in other theaters. However, this is one of her most challenging acting assignments and she's up to the character in this adult script. David Peacock has extensive theater experience, but this is my first time seeing his work. He brings humor to the performance and at times almost brings a tear to the eye. Nate Homolka knows how to get a laugh from almost any line. He's fun to watch and hear. He delights with character revelations. Doug Kusak makes the staid police officer interesting and complex, playing him as if every word and action were the most important thing happening in Connemara this week.
These four performers seem well balanced and make the story funny, dramatic and, of course, terrible.
Director Sean Derry as done a superb job leading his cast through the issues and problems in this script, which is filled with action scenes that play beautifully here.
The performance runs about 80 minutes without an intermission.
A Skull in Connemara at none too fragile theater, 1835 Merriman Road, Akron, OH through April 1, 2017. For tickets and information, call the box office at 330-962-5547 or visit nonetoofragile.com/index.html.
Playwright: Martin McDonagh