The Playboy Of The Western World - A Must See For Serious [Minded Theatre-Goers]
by Jan Stanley
Irish comedy or drama are seldom tackled these days, especially when a play was written in 1907. John Millington Synge's play The Playboy Of The Western World is a classic as it takes a comedic look at murder, mayhem, deceit, and first love. Although, more tragic than comedic. Playboy is difficult as Synge's play is extremely lyrical and authentic Irish lilt is necessary. Sean O'Casey and Brendan Behan are more known as Irish playwrights, but Synge's Playboy has become a classic due to the frankness of hero worship and the way he constructed the play.
Perry Martin directs with an eye for detail on Stephen G. Thurber's first-class scenic design based on a concept by Charles Truscott. Adding to the detail of Martin's direction is Robert M. Montgomery's fight choreography, which is authentically performed making the fight scene in the third act realistic. Michael P. Cahill's Christy, who claims to have killed his father and gets praise from the locals in a village on the wild coast of Mayo, Ireland, is child-like but becomes a man with a new found assurance. He creates a life-like character, never overacting and keeping Christy believable. The two women who vie for his affection of so brave a lad are the widow Quinn (Janet Shea) and Pegeen Mike Flaherty (Kimberly Patterson). Janet Shea, as usual, gives a clear colored portrayal and is in complete control of her every scene. Kimberly Patterson's Pegeen gives us another dimension to her acting ability. Her dialect is almost perfect and you can understand and hear her every word. Some of the supporting cast's accents, at times, seem overly strong, causing the audience not to understand the language.
Randy Cheramie as Pegeen's father, Robert M. Montgomery as her intended, and Doug Mundy as Christy's father help make the comedy, which springs from the heart of a peasant people, but scoring high in the lyricism of the language.
All technical credits including Thurber's lighting design and Anne Bendernagel's costumes help design this Irish classic for today's audiences.
Perry Martin's direction is nothing less than spectacular. It is a must-see production for serious minded theatre-goers.