The Lonesome West
Ruskin Group Theatre
Through March 31
Almost like staring into the bright sunlight and trying to adjust to the world around, getting used to the Irish accents in “The Lonesome West” is no easy feat.
While it is not the actors’ faults or the writer’s, as the play is set in Ireland and it would be strange for the characters not to have the accents, it hindered the plays’ ability to convey jokes and stories with ease.
“The Lonesome West” starts off with Coleman, the main character, coming home from his father’s funeral with the local priest, Father Welsh. Coleman (Jason Paulfield) is the slovenly brother of Valene (Jonathon Bray), a narcissist always trying to get ahead. As polar opposites, the brothers inevitably bicker throughout the play. If anything, they seem to argue most over alcohol ““ how the other gets it and if Girleen (Rachel Noll), the young girl who sells alcohol and is scandalously open with her sexuality, is coming by to drop some more alcohol off for the two boys.
Bits and pieces of the story are introduced ““ the brothers do not get along, Father Welsh feels as if he is the laughingstock of his parish and their entire neighborhood seems to be having trouble. The audience learns that there have been two deaths and one suicide in their small town, leaving a palpable gloom over the characters. Each character talks of the problems that he is facing, and does so with biting humor.
The second act of the play is much more interesting, and Girleen becomes more of a central character. Noll is dedicated to her role and plays Girleen to a T. She is strong when need be, and yet the audience can see the awkward, shy girl who just wants the impress a boy in front of her.
Though the second half of the play is more engaging, it might be because the entire storyline occurs after intermission. The first half, while not dry, did not offer much in terms of a story. While it did elaborate on the brothers’ never-ending hatred of one another and was funny, it did not introduce much else. In the end, the brothers’ years of quarrel seem to end within 15 minutes after a tragic accident. While it is understandable that a big event can lead to mending of relationships, it could have been less rushed and not have been solved in a short conversation during dinner.
Ultimately, “The Lonesome West” fails to be memorable. The basic plot is intriguing, but there doesn’t seem to be an answer to why these deaths seem to be happening ““ there isn’t much to delve into. There is a touching moment in the second half of the play that describes that happiness can be seen even in death, the play fails to deliver much else.