The Lonesome West
Martin McDonagh's comedy is set in a village in western Ireland, which seems to be a hot-bed of murder, suicide and rampaging Irish eccentricity. It centers on two brothers, Valene (Jonathan Bray) and Coleman (Jason Paul Field), who are locked in implacable hostility. Coleman has shot their father in what he claims was an accident. The only witness was Valene. But Valene has refused to testify on Coleman's behalf unless Coleman agrees to give his share of their inheritance to Valene. Consequently, Valene now owns everything and Coleman is left with nothing — but that doesn't prevent him from storing up resentment and cadging Valene's poteen (Irish moonshine) and Taytos Potato Crisps. Their fraternal warfare has escalated to absurd heights of malice and malevolence. The hard-drinking local priest, Father Welsh (Conor Walshe), appalled by their constant conflicts, tries desperately to make peace between them. But it soon emerges that their forgiveness can be as lethal and competitive as their fights. Bray's Valene is a study in buttoned-up smugness, while Field's Coleman is a disreputable, unregenerate layabout. Director Mike Reilly has assembled an impeccable cast, including Rachel Noll, and directs them with a sharp eye for comic possibilities. Ruskin Group Theatre, 3000 Airport Road, Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru March 4. (310) 397-3244, ruskingrouptheatre.com.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Jan. 27. Continues through March 31, 2012
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