A postcard review of Liffey Players’ Outside Mullingar

Continuing with her Postcard Series, Caroline Russell-King takes a look at Liffey Players’ latest production, Outside Mullingar.

Show: Outside Mullingar.

Playwright/composer: John Patrick Shanley.

Theatre: Liffey Players at the Pumphouse Theatres’ Shed Theatre.

Length: Two Acts (One hour, 45 minutes with intermission).

Genre/s: Romance.

Premise: Anthony and Rosemary’s relationship spans five-and-a-half years but goes back even further in what the playwright calls “the farce of caution” as the two older, fated, lovers overcome the loss of land, parents, jewelry and life’s expectations.

Why this play? Why now?: Irish playwrights are known for their dark, bleak dramas, so it’s a bit of a change of pace for this famous American playwright’s contemporary rom-com.

Curiosities: I appreciated the realness of the Guinness and pipe, and wondered what would have happened to the addition of the realism with kettles, taps, tea and cigarettes.

Notable lines: “People don’t appeal to me that much,” Anthony says, to which Rosemary retorts: “That’s normal. Who likes people? Nobody.”

Notable writing: This play was written after the award-winning plays Moonstruck and Doubt yet somehow it feels like an earlier work.

Notable performance: Tanya Elliott Wolff (who has won two CAT awards — Calgary’s Community Theatre Awards — for leading roles with Liffey Players in the past) brings a lovely mix of Catholic moxie and mishegas.

Notable design: The sfx by Dean Caplan rounds out the play nicely with the rain as a great Irish audio backdrop. (Though I was distracted by how dry all the characters were and wondered why no one had umbrellas.)

Notable direction: Dorin McIntosh has a wealth of roles under his belt as an actor and now turns his attention to directing (as a director he needs to be supported better by his set designer self!).

One reason to see this show: Irish charm with a sprinkling of gentle comedy.

(Photo of James Noonan as Anthony Reilly (L) with Jerry Callaghan as Tony Reilly courtesy Liffey Players.)

Outside Mullingar runs until Nov. 17 at the Pumphouse Theatres.

Caroline Russell-King is a playwright, dramaturg, and instructor. She is a member of The Playwrights Guild of Canada, the Dramatist Guild of America and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. You can find her work here