Poor Beast in the Rain

It sometimes seems that Irish writers are the only ones who can still write a traditional, realistic genre drama with conviction, and without deconstructing, satirizing or saturating it in irony. Billy Roche's play is set in a betting shop in the town of Wexford, during the All-Ireland Hurling Finals. Ten years ago, local bad boy Danger Doyle (Andrew Connolly) ran off to England with the wife of ineffectual Steven (Michael O'Hagan), who runs the betting shop with the assistance of his pretty daughter, Eileen (Kate Steele). In his absence, Danger has been mythologized by young Georgie (Christopher Carley) and Joe (Kevin Kearns). When Danger unexpectedly returns as a diminished figure, but still strong and undeluded, his arrival is the catalyst for disillusion among the others, including his bitter former lover, Molly (Joanne Whalley). He tells her, "Whatever it is you think I took from you, I haven't got it." It's a skillfully written piece, beautifully acted and finely articulated by director Wilson Milam. The production's only serious defect is that the Irish dialect is occasionally almost impenetrable. Laura Fine Hawke provides the large, detailed and atmospheric set. (Neal Weaver) Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: Feb. 8. Continues through March 16, 2008


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