The Lonesome West

  • Date:
    Monday, August 4, 1997

    Having already seen “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” , but not “A Skull in Connemara”I have not seen these plays in order, but this does not matter, because although they do ‘kind of follow on’, all three plays are very independent stories in their own right.

    The story concerns two brothers, whom after the murder of their father, by the hand of one of the brothers, are forced into bitter rivalry. The local priest, who is an alcoholic tries to stop them arguing, but he is too mixed up about his failures as a priest to be of much help.

    Yet again Martin McDonagh has written another mesmerising drama, with suspense and superb dialogue. He has the ability to make you laugh, cry and be repulsed all in one scene, marvellous stuff! The drama is predictable one minute and totally unpredictable the next, very gripping .

    The acting is of the highest order, with Maeliosa Stafford as ‘Coleman Connor’ brilliant as the caustic slob, who is violent and vile. Brian F.O’Byrne is just as convincing as his weaker brother ‘Valene Connor’, who goes around the house marking all his possessions with a‘V’, and not allowing his brother to use anything belonging to him, and that includes the ‘Stove’!

    David Ganly is satisfactory as the alcoholic and confused ‘Father Welsh’ and Dawn Bradfield is fine as ‘Girleen Kelleher’ the local tearaway schoolgirl who illegally sells her fathers booze to the brothers.

    Martin McDonagh has expressed a question of what do people do with their lives in such a lonely, secluded place.

    Two ageing brothers, who are not successful with women, cannot get on and fall out over the most trivial of things, like a bag of crisps! What will it take to stop them arguing? Do they love and care for each other deep down? What is one to make of the scene where ‘Valene’ attacks ‘Coleman’ with a knife and‘Coleman’ defends himself with a gun. ‘Valene’ does not seem to be bothered by the risk of being shot himself, and still threatens to kill ‘Coleman’ with the knife. But, ‘Coleman’, does not want to shoot his brother, so instead points the gun at ‘Valene’s’ beloved ‘stove’! This forces ‘Valene’ to put down the knife. ‘Valene’ obviously values the cooker more than his own life! Why is this?

    Martin McDonagh raises many questions that make you sit up and think , and I’m sure people will interpret the play in many different ways.

    (Darren Dalglish)

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