Rose­bud theatre opens new sea­son with Out­side Mullingar.

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Kyle Smylie The Drumheller Mail Out­side Mullingar sub­mit­ted

Rose­bud Theatre opened its 2016 sea­son with Out­side Mullingar this week­end, and this ro­man­tic, per­fectly-plot­ted tale set in the home­steads of two feud­ing neigh­bours in the bogs of old coun­try Ire­land is charm­ing, wholly sat­is­fy­ing, and un­doubt­edly weird – but in a very good way.

Out­side Mullingar, the most re­cent tale from the Bronx-born John Patrick Shan­ley, the Pulitzer, Tony, and Os­car-win­ning play­wright most known for his 2004 play Doubt and for the 1987 film Moon­struck, tells the story of nearly con­firmed bach­e­lor An­thony Reilly (Paul F. Muir) and his love-bear­ing but be­grudg­ing love in­ter­est Rose­mary Mul­doon (Heather Pat­ten­gale).

The play be­gins with An­thony and his ag­ing fa­ther Tony ( John Innes) re­turn­ing to their home from a wake (how Ir­ish), where Tony re­veals his in­ten­tion of dis­in­her­it­ing An­thony, his ec­cen­tric and ef­fem­i­nate son, who is hard­work­ing and hop­ing to in­herit the farm but loathe to farm life.

Tony wishes to sell the land to a rel­a­tive in Amer­ica, who is in­ter­ested, but un­will­ing to pur­chase it be­cause the fam­ily does not own a small plot of land which lays be­tween the farm and the road, it hav­ing been sold years prior to the neigh­bour­ing Mul­doons. This phys­i­cal ob­sta­cle seems trite and an easy fix un­til it’s re­vealed that Rose­mary is ac­tu­ally the deed holder of the strip, and is un­will­ing to sell it to the Reilly’s be­cause she hasn’t for­given An­thony for push­ing her down on the very same plot as chil­dren decades prior.

But when she learns that An­thony’s fa­ther is con­sid­er­ing leav­ing the farm to the nephew in Amer­ica in­stead of An­thony, Rose­mary raises a ruckus and prom­ises she will never part with the deed un­less the farm is given to An­thony.

The prob­lem of in­her­i­tance isn’t the trick­i­est ob­sta­cle in the play, it ac­tu­ally sorts it­self out rather eas­ily – what’s more knotty is the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Rose­mary and An­thony, who “makes her feel as if she has a soul” and who she has been turn­ing away suit­ors for.

From their first en­counter it’s clear to all in the au­di­ence they are des­tined to wind up to­gether in this play. But the pre­dictabil­ity of this play, which in­cludes a perquisite death and some ac­tu­ally rather res­o­nant ex­is­ten­tial mus­ings, that would be a turn-off in another story doesn’t ac­tu­ally hurt Out­side Mullingar in the slight­est

In fact, the per­fectly-plot­ted story arc and the pleas­ant sym­me­try of Mullingar’s struc­ture is one of its chief de­lights. As the plot rolls along just like you think it will, you find your­self root­ing for the two to just clinch the deal al­ready while treated to the lyri­cism of the writ­ing of John Patrick Shan­ley and to witty lan­guage of his char­ac­ters and the spot-on Ir­ish ac­cents of the ac­tors.

But like most things in the coun­try, love Mullingar is a sim­ple is­sue.

In fact, when the real ob­sta­cle be­tween Rose­mary and An­thony is re­vealed, it’s found to be as easy to tra­verse as the plot of land which stands be­tween the farm and the road. As il­log­i­cal and delu­sional as our rea­son­ings in real life so of­ten and un­for­tu­nately are, An­thony’s se­cret rea­son for avoid­ing and re­ject­ing Rose­mary’s love can’t be chalked up to any thing as plain as her ac­cu­sa­tions of his ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity or im­po­tence, but are re­vealed to be some­thing so hi­lar­i­ously mad and odd, but so per­sonal and out of left field, that in the play’s cli­max and con­clu­sion the au­di­ence is left howl­ing in their seats in the state of the strange and rarely achieved happy cry.

Out­side Mullingar Theatre un­til June 11.

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kicked off the 2016 Rose­bud Theatre sea­son on Fri­day. The play, star­ring John F. Muir and Heather Pat­ten­gale, fol­lows two Ir­ish lovers as the strug­gle to un­tan­gle the knot of in­her­i­tance and love. The play runs un­til June 11.

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