LAMB's Players started another theatre year strong with John Patrick Shanley's play "Outside Mullingar"

A One-Act Play with a Set of Fantastic Scenes

A Blog View by Alejandra Enciso-Dardashti

Robert Smyth, Rachael VanWormer, and Deborah Gilmour Smyth. Photo Ken Jacques.
Rarely do I like plays where the playwright explores a personal chapter through the work. But, with Mullingar' it was different. Shanley wrote this play when he turned 60 years old, inspired by a trip he took to Ireland to learn more about his family roots. The piece also had its tenth anniversary of premiering on Broadway in January 2014.

Set in mid-Ireland, on farming grounds, the play starts with father-son Tony (Robert Smyth) and Anthony Reilly (Brian Mackey) coming from a funeral. As they are prepping to receive their neighbors, the recently widowed Aoife (Deborah Gilmour Smyth) and her daughter Rosemary (Rachael Vanwormer), they start talking about family and town gossip along with farming styles. Tony inherited the land from his father and is not that convinced that Anthony is happy with working the land as he does not see "the joy in farming" within his son. Both Anthony and Rosemary are single and by their parents' standards, they are basically over the hill. We see four years go by where worries are expressed, as well as heated disagreements, truths, and some semi-foreshadowed revelations. 

The play is 95-ish minutes long with no intermission and wih a set of fantastic and just delicious theatre scenes, meticulously lit by Nathan Peirson's design, real-life married couple Deborah Gilmour Smyth and Robert Smyth along with Anthony Reilly, ping-pong the dialogues with great timing, mannerisms, and style. The rhythm of the play starts paced with the three actors framing the true plot and little by little, it organically picks up and just goes full throttle with Rachael Vanwormer entering the stage. And I have to add, with amazing hair. Her hair looks long, healthy, and beautiful.

Rachael VanWormer Brian Mackey. Photo Ken Jacques

It is always an absolute joy to see Robert and Deborah on the stage, it is now my third play seeing them together and there is always something new. It was my first time seeing also real-life married couple, Brian and Rachael act together. Both had big, energetic exchanges that kept audience members still in their seats.

Directed by Robert Smyth, Deborah Gilmour Smyth, and Kerry Meads, there are a couple of transitions during the piece that were beautifully executed. One is with Smyth in a recliner and the other is with Brian and Rachael in a fantastic embrace that will knock your socks off. I will not say more because it has to be seen and enjoyed. All four actors put their own flare and tone to the Irish accent/dialect which I appreciated greatly as this gives more to the audience from the character. I would assume it is not an easy task as the words and pronunciations are complex and different from what we are used to hearing, and Jilian Frost as the dialect coach truly embraced that. 

Mike Buckley's set design is simple but functional with two rotating pieces that give life to both farmhouses in the story. Jessica Couto's property design is on point as you can see every nicknack in the Reilly's home also giving that feeling of "unkemptness" where these men have been living and, contrasting the Muldoon's sparkling, and everything in its place home. Jemima Dutra's costume design rounds out each character's personality and also gives the audience the feel of the weather. Deborah Gilmour Smyth as well as co-directing and acting is the sound designer for this piece, using effects like raindrops all the way to full storm-like white noise that added the perfect touch to the already well-rounded scenes.

Outside Mullingar is a truly great theatre experience. It has been extended until March 3rd. For showtimes and ticket prices please click here

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