Regional Reviews: Las Vegas
In the small town of Mullingar, somewhere in the Midlands of Ireland, a childhood tussle has mushroomed into a decades-long land dispute between the Reillys and the Muldoons, two families that own adjoining farms. The Muldoons, it seems, own the little strip of land that cuts the Reillys' farm off from access to the road.
Act one belongs to the senior set. Irascible patriarch Tony Reilly faces off against newly widowed Aoife Muldoon, demanding that she sell him back the disputed real estate which, in a long-ago moment of youthful desperation, he sold to her husband, who thereafter refused to sell it back. When not arguing over land, they compete over which one is nearer to death's door and which one has the least marriageable child. In the meantime, their unmarried progeny do the actual farming and seem to be plodding numbly through their uneventful lives, studiously avoiding each other.
In act two the focus shifts to Rosemary and Anthony, the younger generation whose past hurts have led them to bottle up their thoughts and feelings with the same intensity that their parents invested into quarreling. Unfortunately, here the script becomes a bit formulaic. We strongly suspect, of course, that these two lonelyhearts are meant to be together. But first they must punch their way through the walls they have erected. The disputed patch of land takes on new significance as we learn more details from the past. And Anthony's final revelation is so bizarre that it seems to belong in a different play altogether.
Despite its minor flaws, Shanley's script is both compelling and funny. And the Las Vegas Little Theatre does such a fine job of bringing these characters to life that it's impossible to leave the theatre without a smile on your face.
As the widowed parents Aoife and Tony, Charlene Moskal and E. Wayne Worley make delightful sparring partners, showcasing Shanley's comic wit and making it easy to believe that this pair have known each other (and one another's departed spouses) for a very long time.
The younger actors are equally strong. Kim Glover is magnificent as Rosemarystrong and fiercely funny while obviously nursing some painful wounds. TJ Larsen does a fine job as the introverted Anthony, too terrified of rejection to reveal his feelings.
Director Josh Sigal has paced the show well, finding both the humor and the pathos in these convoluted characters. Under his direction, the ensemble performs with focused energy and perfect timing. Even the Irish accents sound good. (Jake Taylor is the dialect coach.)
"Something there is that doesn't love a wall." This was Frost's retort to his boundary-loving neighbor. In Shanley's world, it is equally apt for the walls we build around our souls.
Outside Mullingar continues through November 20, 2016 (Thursday-Saturday at 8 pm, Sundays at 2 pm) at the Las Vegas Little Theatre, 3920 Schiff Dr., Las Vegas, NV 89103. For tickets ($15 adult, $14 seniors and students) and further information, go to www.lvlt.org or call 702-362-7996 .
Set design by Melanie Croft; lighting design by Kendra Harris; costume design by Kim Glover; sound design by Josh Sigal.