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Comedy on stage at None Too Fragile

2/14/2013 - West Side Leader
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By David Ritchey

MERRIMAN VALLEY — The comedy “A Behanding in Spokane” is on stage at None Too Fragile Theater through March 9.

The story deals with Carmichael (Michael Regnier), who lost his hand at the wrist when bullies forced him onto a railroad track in Spokane, Wash. The thugs grabbed his severed hand and waved good-by to him with it.

As the play opens, Carmichael has spent about 25 years looking for this hand. He reasons the hand belongs to him and he should have it. In his long search for it, he has bought dozens of severed hands and carries them with him in a large suitcase.

Carmichael arranges to meet a strange couple in a down-and-out hotel in Spokane. The couple, Marilyn (Kelly Strand) and Toby (Brian Kenneth Armour), convince Carmichael they own a hand, which is at home in the refrigerator or freezer or in the kitchen or garage. Carmichael goes to their home in search of the hand and leaves the two hapless hand collectors handcuffed to the heat register in a hotel room.

Marilyn and Toby attempt to get help from Mervyn (Nick Yurick), a hotel receptionist. But, Mervyn, who usually meets guests in his underwear because he exercises when he’s not checking customers into the seedy hotel, is too busy sucking the filling out of Twinkies with a straw to help the handcuffed couple.

Director Sean Derry keeps the performers working as a unified team. The cast doesn’t have a weak link. Derry, who usually directs or appears in more powerful dramas, seems comfortable directing this dark comedy. 

Playwright Martin McDonagh is considered by some critics to be the most important living Irish playwright. He has received one Academy Award and has four nominations for the Tony Award. Audiences might know him best for the recently released movie “Seven Psychopaths.” In “A Behanding in Spokane,” he keeps the language terse, tight and crude. Yet, McDonagh’s economy of language helps keep the play moving at a fast pace. 

The show, which runs about 100 minutes, is performed without an intermission.

The theater is accessed through Pub Bricco. For ticket reservations, call 330-671-4563.

David Ritchey has a Ph.D. in communications and is a professor of communications at The University of Akron. He is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association.

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