Outside MullingarPosted: March 3, 2014
Outside Mullingar is John Patrick Shanley’s newest play, and what a delight it is.
You likely know Shanley best from his 2005 Tony and Pulitzer prize-winning play Doubt, or perhaps his lesser-known work – but still a favorite of mine – the film Joe Versus the Volcano (check it out, it’s so weird). That Shanley can write such a range has always been noteworthy to me, and he’s done it yet again with this delightfully endearing piece. As Jenn, my companion for the day, joked afterward, “I think this guy’s got a real future.”
This production stars Debra Messing (of Will & Grace fame) and Brían F. O’Byrne (the always fantastic stage actor) as lifelong neighbors in the town of Mullingar, Ireland. It’s clear from their first scene that they’re meant to end up together, and we should simply sit back and enjoy the ride. So yes, it’s been rightly advertised as primarily a romantic comedy, but it also goes beyond the romance and covers larger themes (family struggles, death, madness). Watch some clips here.
There actually isn’t much I want to say about this play other than how much I liked it. You’ll see that the show speaks for itself. It’s so incredibly charming. Very, very funny. Great acting on all fronts. Excellent direction by Doug Hughes. An amazing, smart set design by John Lee Beatty. Plus the Production Stage Manager is my friend Winnie Lok!
It’ll make you laugh. It’ll make you cry. It’ll surprise you. It’ll close on March 16th. See it if you can.
Written by John Patrick Shanley, Directed by Doug Hughes
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre through March 16th
Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Pictured: Brían F. O’Byrne and Debra Messing