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A CurtainUp Berkshire Review
Outside Mullingar
By Macey Levin

When you say those things to me, Anthony, I know I have a soul.— Rosemary
It's raining at Tony Reilly's farm outside Mullingar, Ireland, the evening after Chris Muldoon's funeral. Being a good neighbor, he invites Muldoon's wife Aiofe and daughter Rosemary back to his house for some tea and conversation. Before they arrive Tony and his son Anthony continue a years-old disagreement about the young Reilly's attitude toward the farm. Tony cries, "You don't love the earth!" John Patrick Shanley's play Outside Mullingar opens with this contrasting tone which continues through its ninety-five minutes.

Shanley, author of the award winning Doubt and Moonstruck has written a sweet but predictable play. It is both a romantic comedy and a family drama that has been seen in many regional theatres since its Broadway run. (>Curtainup editor Elyse Sommer's review The current offering at Berkshire Theatre Group's Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge, Massachusetts is something of a hit-and-miss production.

Years earlier Tony took a loan from Chris and as collateral gave him a strip of land that separated the two farms. Muldoon installed two gates inhibiting easy access to Tony's property. The problem still exists complicated by the fact that Chris put the deed in Rosemary's name. She is still angry at Anthony because when she was six-years old and he thirteen he pushed her down and walked away as she cried. The developing relationship between Anthony (James McMenamin) and Rosemary (Shannon Marie Sullivan) is foreshadowed early in the play leading to a charming conclusion.

Directed by Karen Allen it is effectively staged and well-acted by McMenamin as Anthony and Sullivan as Rosemary. However, the work of Jeffrey DeMunn and Deborah Hedwall as the older characters is sometimes problematic. All of them are some times difficult to understand amidst the thick Irish brogue, but especially DeMunn and Hedwall; they also have a problem with their projection especially in the first scene when involved in an intimate conversation. The younger actors, however, fare better in both the accent and sound.

The play takes place in five dissimilar locations. The sets by John McDermott are cleverly designed, but on the small Unicorn stage the scene changes take an inordinate amount of time. To accompany the changes there are soulful Irish melodies play composed by Shawn Boyle. In the original run a turntable was used to facilitate the shifts from one place to the next. The costumes designed by Carisa Kelly inform the status of the characters and Shawn Boyle's lighting sets the mood of the various scenes. Shanley's dialogue and characters are interesting; the lyrical tone and the story of love realized helps to overcome the flaws.

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Outside Mullingar by John Patrick Shanley
Directed by Karen Allen
Cast: Jeffrey DeMunn (Tony Reilly) Deborah Hedwall (Aiofe Muldoon) James McMenamin (Anthony Reilly) Shannon Marie Sullivan (Rosemary Muldoon)
Scenic Design: John McDermott
Lighting Design: Shawn Boyle
Costume Design: Carisa Kelly
Resident Composer/Sound Design: Shawn Boyle
Dialect Coach: Jennifer Scapetis-Tycer
Stage Manager: Jason Weixelman
Production Assistant: Emma Montgomerie
Assistant to the Director: Rachel Grzelak
Running Time: ninety-five minutes; no intermission
Berkshire Theatre Group's Unicorn Theatre, Stockbridge, MA; Opening: 6/19/19; Closing 7/13/19
Reviewed by Macey Levin at June 24th performance

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