Mad Cow Theater, Orlando, FL
By John Patrick Shanley
Directed by Bobby Bell
Starring Patrick Brezyan and Whitney Morse
Wisconsin has its bachelor farmers, as does Ireland. Young Anthony (Brezyan) hopes his dad will get around to signing over the family farm. But his father Tony (Joe Reed) has his doubts about it; his son doesn’t LOOK like he ought to, plus there a silly land dispute with a neighbor Rosemary (Morse). Her dad lent Tony money, and made him sign over the 40 feet between the road and Tony’s front door We called this a “Spite Fence;” requires locking and unlocking an additional gate every time the Tony’s want to go shopping. Now this otherwise useless strip of land falls to Rosemary, and while she talks tough, she really negotiation with young Tony about a permeant merger. Too bad he’s too dense to get the drift.
As romantic comedies go, this one is much funnier and more Irish than most. Brezyan’s boyish doofus charm makes this show come alive, and Morse’s energy and persistence make it jump. The problem facing both is real. There are few available mates in the fading agricultural country side; thus, looks and personality become way less important than eligibility and availability. While the lover’s quarrels are the heart of the story, the long argument in the first act between Anthony’s dad and Rosemary mother Aoife Muldoon (Karel K Wright) are full of gags, bon mots and general rural tom-hicoryness. Like a solid kitchen table, each of these four personalities are required to bring the marriage and the story line to its most desired conclusion. The fact that Tony and Aoife are dead and buried by the time wedding bells ring isn’t important; like all the ancestors of the Emerald Isle, death is no impairment to haunting your descendants for generation after generation. They just have to get their heads out of the haymow and reproduce so the grandfolks have someone new to haunt.