Outside Mullingar

August 16, 2017 | By | Reply More

★★★☆☆      Recognisably truthful

The Royal Scots Club (Venue 241): Mon 14 – Sat 19 Aug 2017
Review by Hugh Simpson

Gentle comedy and believable emotion predominate in Arkle Theatre’s accomplished Outside Mullingar at the Royal Scots Club.

American playwright John Patrick Shanley’s Irish-set play is not so well known over here, but is a touching comedy about two lonely neighbours in rural Westmeath, Anthony Reilly and Rosemary Muldoon.

Brian Neill, Therese Gallacher and Val Lennie. Pic Arkle

Behind the humour, there certainly does lie the sentimentality about the old country displayed by so many Americans towards Ireland (and indeed, Scotland). This is counterbalanced to a certain extent by the more flinty characters of the respective parents, Tony Reilly (played by Brian Neill) and Aoife Muldoon (Val Lennie).

Neill and Lennie both display beautiful pace and inflection, and are more expressive sitting in chairs than most people are walking about. Accordingly, it is a shame when they disappear from the story.

Paul Beeson and Therese Gallacher manage to keep it going as Tony and Rosemary in their absence, however. Beeson is convincing as the shy, troubled Tony, and the relationship (or lack of it) between them has a convincing ring. Gallacher does not quite match Beeson’s stage presence, but delivers some of the more lyrical lines intriguingly, as well as being very good at anger.



The play could do with some trimming, as much of the last half-hour just goes round in circles, but it is never less than diverting. The acting space at the Royal Scots Club is beautifully used, and Carole Hardie directs with an assurance and an unhurried pace. The set and John Weitzen’s lighting add considerably to the theatrical experience.

There is nothing new here, and indeed it does venture towards the stereotypical, but it nevertheless provides a lucid, emotional exploration of the things we find to make us happy and the excuses we come up with to avoid them.

Running time 1 hour 30 minutes (no interval)
The Royal Scots Club (Venue 241), 29-31 Abercromby Place, EH3 6QE
Monday 14 – Saturday 19 August 2017
Daily at 8.00 pm
Book tickets on the Fringe website: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/outside-mullingar

Company Website: http://www.arkletheatre.co.uk
Facebook: @Arkle-Theatre-Company-90472754009

ENDS

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