A Behanding In Spokane Review

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Gerald Schoenfeld Theater

236 W. 45th Street

90 Minutes, no intermission

March 4, 2010 (Limited engagement: June 6, 2010)

Broadway Play (Dark Comedy)

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A Behanding in Spokane is a play by the well-known Academy award winning Irish playwright Martin McDonough, who made his foray into Hollywood with the 2008 release “In Bruges” following the much-acclaimed Aram Islands Trilogy. Of late, he has made his mark in “dark humor” sensibilities through his Irish plays, such as the Leeann trilogy and “The Lieutenant of Inshore." However, his latest play, A Be handing in Spokane, would be his first adaptation of an American setting as opposed to his love for the Irish hinterlands. This all-star play is directed by John Crowley who was apparently nominated for a Tony Award for his work in “The Pillow man” (the latest Broadway hit churned out by Martin McDonough).

A Behanding in Spokane review, as followed, is a brief synopsis of the 90-minute play.

The “be handed” Carmichael (played by Christopher Waken) is a man who has been relentlessly searching for his severed left appendage for many years. The stylistic nuances of the coarse and sarcastic Carmichael and the various oddities revealed by his character support his visually distinct and funny persona. The play is punctuated with two more characters who happen to be obsessed, fantasists, and bluffers, all rolled into one. The characters appear as if from some regular Hollywood comic caper with the ‘regular’ foolish crooks speaking foul language and their lies happen to misfire at every instance.

Let’s proceed further in details in A Behanding in Spokane review. The so-called ‘protagonist’ Carmichael arrives at a hotel in some unnamed small town to meet Toby (played by Anthony Mackie of ‘The Hurt of the Locker’ fame) and Marilyn (played by Zoe Kazan) who claim to possess the long-lost, severed digits of Carmichael. The duo in fact out to con the headless Carmichael by luring him into their booby trap and extracting a few hundred bucks in the bargain. The dialogs of these two rogue characters are filled with sexual and racial epithets, verbal profanity, and shades of black comedy. Amongst this mélange of hilarious savagery appears the fourth character, the young hotel desk clerk named Mervin (played by Sam Rockwell), who craves to play a real-life hero in his relatively purposeless life!

The conclusion of any A Behanding in Spokane review would definitely be that the highlights of the play are the exemplary monologues delivered by Carmichael followed by the hotel desk clerk Mervin. The dark humor that is found in the general murkiness, sarcastic humor, individual mannerism, and the violence-humor combo would probably form the other things to watch out for in the play. The performances of the characters compliment one another and are ‘funny’ as dark humor can be both subtle and outlandish.

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