The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings





Etcetera and
Short Term Listings



LA/San Diego






Free Updates
Writing for us
A CurtainUp Review
The Salvage Shop

It was never about winning -- it was about striving for the best --- Sylvie explaining why the band's not winning the All-Ireland Champions was such a blow to him. He then continues to give Luciano Pavarotti as an example of someone "touched by something greater than a baker's son could ever dream of" . . .which enabled him to "strive to sound the sacred note" -- something Sylvie thought his impoverished little band could do as well.

Paul Anthony McGrane & David Little in The Salvage Shop
Paul Anthony McGrane (foreground) & David Little (Photo: Kelleigh Miller)
There's something about an Irish play that tends to raise one's expectations to expect colorful characters, rich language and atmospheric story telling. Such expectations are delivered by Jim Nolan's The Salvage Shop which recently opened at the Storm Theater for a limited New York run.

It's not dark and edgy like the plays of Martin McDonagh, nor is it heavily reliant on monologues like Conor McPherson's work. Instead, what Nolan has created is an old-fashioned family drama, that doesn't try to shock and surprise us but relies on the depth of its characters' feelings to get us caught up in their struggle to resolve a painful family rift before it's too late.

The title which refers to a shop where broken chairs and other objects are restored is a transparent metaphor for the relationship around which the play revolves. As a matter of fact, Nolan makes no attempt to add any new twists to his saga of father and son tie that was severed by an event that caused the son to act in a way that the father viewed as a betrayal. We know from the very first scene why Eddie Tansey (Paul Anthony McGane) has returned to his father Sylvie's (David Little) home that also houses the cluttered Salvage Shop in Garris, a small coastland town in Ireland, and that the twelve-year breach between them must and will be healed by the final scene. Predictable though the outcome is, this is an epic, ever potent theme that combines the effect of changes that affect even a quiet little town with the redemptive power of mutual understanding and forgiveness.

The love for music and the band that gives ordinary people like the Tanseys something to strive for and identify with those, like Luciano Pavarotti whose striving took them to the top, bonds Sylvie and Eddie (like Sylvie and his father before that). It also causes the seemingly unmendable rift, when Eddie, the band's best musician, leaves the band abruptly and ends its chance at the All-Ireland Champions and thus opened the door to a new order of diminished values. Though Eddie's reasons for leaving are understandable, the father's disappointment overwhelms any possibility for sympathy rather than anger. And, as Sylvie was too blinded to accept his son's action, Eddie now almost blinds himself into thinking he can make up for his desertion with a scheme to get his idol, Pavarotti, to come to Garris for a concert while Sylvie is still alive.

McGane and Little play the troubled father and son with touching and believable warmth and director Peter Dobbins, has drawn equally strong performances from the supporting cast -- especially Kristan Bush as the play's most endearing character, Eddie's daughter Katie. Todd Edward Ivins has created a wonderfully authentic rummage shop, complete with an upstairs bedroom, that complements the excellent acting. If you're familiar with the Storm Theater, this fairly elaborate staging (also abetted by costume and lighting designers Erin Murphy and Michael Abrams) is more than you might expect from such a modest third floor venue. At a time when several of the nearby Broadway houses have announced breaking the $100 top ticket price barrier, the chance to see this moving, well directed and performed play for less than $20 shouldn't be missed.

by Jim Nolan
Directed by Peter Dobbins
Cast: Kristen Bush (Katie Tansey), Karen Eke (Rita Shanahan), Roland Johnson (Stephen Kearney), David Little (Sylvie Tansey), Paul Anthony McGrane (Eddie Tansey) and Ted McGuinness(Josie Costello).
Set Design: Todd Edward Ivins
Costume Design: Erin Murphy
Lighting Design: Michael Abrams
Sound Design: Scott O'Brien
Running time: 2 hours, includes intermission
Storm Theatre, 145 West 46th Street SmartTix 212-868-4444
From 10/28/05 to 11/19/05; opening 11/02/05
Wednesday to Saturday at 7:30 PM.
Tickets: $19
Reviewed by Elyse Sommer based on October 31st performance
Playbill Broadway Year Book
The new annual to dress up every Broadway lover's coffee table

broadway musicals: the 101 greatest shows of all time
Easy-on-the budget super gift for yourself and your musical loving friends. Tons of gorgeous pictures.

tales from shakespeare
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
Click image to buy.
Our Review

At This Theater Cover
At This Theater

Leonard Maltin's 2005 Movie Guide
Leonard Maltin's 2005 Movie Guide

Ridiculous! The Theatrical Life and Times of Charles Ludlam
Ridiculous!The Theatrical Life & Times of Charles Ludlam

metaphors dictionary cover
>6, 500 Comparative Phrases including 800 Shakespearean Metaphors by our editor.
Click image to buy.
Go here for details and larger image.

The Broadway Theatre Archive


©Copyright 2005, Elyse Sommer.
Information from this site may not be reproduced in print or online without specific permission from