Saturday 22 June 2013

Martin Mcdonagh a Behanding in Spokane @ Unit 102 Theatre



"a tricky play to pull off. 
very dense 
a black comedy...
full of subtly interconnecting stories, 
shifting motivations, 
and the playwright’s characteristic wordplay
–obscene, philosophical, absurd–
...needs a team of talented actors with good direction and set design
Happily for Torontonians, 
has done just this"

The initial tableau establishes the dynamic tone which will continue
with some modulations, for the next hour or so.
It is a tension built of violence, fatigue, and desperation.

A dingy American hotel room: 
(designed by Adam Belanger) 
 stained walls,
 iron radiators with exposed pipes, 
, while outside the window are the cold stones brick wall

It starts  just before midnight in a single decrepit motel room rented by the 
forty-something Carmichael (Luis Fernandes), 

“Do you know what it feels like to be waved goodbye from a distance with your own hand?”)

Sick, shocking, mean, raw and uproariously funny,
Carmichael is holding any available scum to account 
for his own torment and disfiguration,
a sysiphean task from the world of mamet or tarantino 
like memento only bloodier

we have been basking in the psychopathic glory of 
Irish playwright Martin McDonagh's scribblings.
for the last couple decades.

this piece was borne of the marriage of
Mcdonagh's sensibilities
and those of american actors Christopher Walken 
and Sam Rockwell.
This production tends to lean away from 
channeling  Walken-ness, or Rockwell-ness
and Carmine Lucarelli's direction seems genuinely interested
in getting everry laugh and lurch out of the script,
rather than allowing one comic tone
to dominate the performance
through Walkenesque kitch or camp

Toby (Ronnie Rowe), local weed dealer, 
handcuffed to a radiator alongside his partner in life and in weed dealing 
(and hand dealing), Marilyn (Sam Coyle)

Toby and Marylin, the latest small-time thugs to be 
sucked into Carmichael's world of pain and madness,
play for us the only human relationship within the piece.
They are each by turns conniving, back-stabbing, and accusatory
they cry. they fear their imminent death.
they swear. (wouldn't you?)
Ultimately the pulpiest of all the play's characters,
these two while more real are given less depth
(read: monologues)
than Carmichael and Mervyn

David Lafontaine, always a good foil to Fernandes' oft-manic energy,
as Mervyn the Reception Guy (or the Boxer Shorts guy)
tackles the task of being the only sympathetic character through 
much of the action. we must do our best to relate to his
burnt out, yet still hungry portrayal of an american outcast.

When the action comes to its climax,
it is up to Lafontaine and Fernandes to tenderly 
depict our last few moments with
"these two sad guys" 
as the lights of the police cruisers flash in the distance

  • A Behanding in Spokane 
  • at Unit 102 Theatre, 376 Dufferin Street

  •  Thursday June 20 through to Saturday June 22
  • Monday June 24 through to Saturday June 29

  • performances begin at 8 PM.
  • Tickets are $20. Performance on June 25th is PWYC.
  • For tickets, information and directions, email

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