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Volume 3, Issue 7 • Apr. 1–14, 2011 • San Diego Uptown News Fiddler on the Roof

‘A Marc Chagall dream of Russia in 1905’

By Charlene Baldridge SDUN Theatre Critic

(l to r) Reed Willard, Ryan Kidd, Kyle Sorrell, Walter Ritter and Mike Jensen in “The Lieutenant of Inishmore.”

Fur flies in 'Inishmore' Dismemberment, idiocy and dead cats

By Charlene Baldridge SDUN Reporter

n Martin McDonagh’s “The Lieutenant of Inishmore,” the death of one kitty named Wee Thomas elicits a blood bath that rivals “Hamlet” in sheer num- bers of the slain. But instead of tragedy, this particular work, set in Northern Ireland instead of Denmark, exemplifies black humor. If you like your cats black and your humor too, you must get your wee self to ion theatre, where McDonagh’s gory play continues through April 9. Just prior to curtain, Davey


(Ryan Kidd), an Inishmore lad, brings the decidedly dead Wee Thomas to old Donny (Walter Rit- ter), who declares the kitty “not my fekkin’ cat.” Donny, who assumes Davey rode over Wee Thomas with his bicycle, merely minds the animal for his son, Padraic (Kyle Sorrell in his impressive San Diego debut), who’s away fighting for the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA). Padraic is noted for his temper, so Donny phones to tell his son only that Wee Thomas is doing “poorly.”

Enlisted as a substitute for

Wee Thomas is a cat belonging to Davey’s militant tomboy sister, Mairead (adorably butch Morgan Trant). Padraic comes home to Inishmore with Mairead in tow, having met and fallen in lust with her on the road. Others in the play (Josh Adams, Mike Jensen, Evan Kendig and Reed Willard) are members of the INLA, who are out to kill Padraic, known as the Lieutenant of Inishmore. McDonagh, author of the film

“In Bruges,” has enjoyed quite a vogue in San Diego. ion produced “The Pillowman” at its former APA space. San Diego Repertory theatre staged “The Cripple of In- ishmaan” and “The Beauty Queen of Lenane,” and 6th at Penn ran “A Skull in Connemara.” With varying degrees of mayhem, all plays con-

cern the macabre nature of small town folk in Northern Ireland. In fact, if one’s entire experience of the country consisted only of McDonagh’s twisted characters, one would believe that something’s rotten in Ireland. As one of them says, “It’s incidents like this that puts the tourists off.” If dismem- berment, idiocy and dead cats do not put you off, “The Lieutenant of Inishmore,” directed by ion artistic director Claudio Raygoza, may be your cup of tea.

Raygoza and co-scenic designer Matt Scott cleverly enlarge the

playing space at ion’s diminutive theater. Karen Filijian is light- ing designer, Mary Larson the costume designer, and Melanie Chen the sound designer. Kudos to whoever made the realistic fake flesh, and, as the program gleefully states, “No cats were injured in the making of this production.” “The Lieutenant of Inishmore” continues at 8 p.m. Thursdays- Fridays, 4 and 8 p.m. Saturdays at Blkbox at 6th & Penn, 3704 6th Ave., Hillcrest, San Diego, $25-$29. Visit:, or call (619) 600-5020.u

Through April 3 only, Lyric Opera at the Birch mounts the 1964 musical theatre classic, “Fiddler on the Roof,” set in pre-Bolshevik Revolution Russia. In the program note, direc- tor J. Sherwood Montgomery (also scenic designer) says this production of the Joseph Stein, Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick musical is based on choreographer Jerome Robbins’ touring production, “…visual- ized as a Marc Chagall dream of Russia in 1905.” That it is, and wonderfully so.

A near capacity audience attended the Friday, March 26, performance at the Birch North Park Theatre, watching a com- pany of 35 and orchestra of 21 (members of Musicians Union,

Local 325, by special arrange- ment, under the baton of Warren Marsh) render a fine perfor- mance of the beloved musical. Tevye, the milkman who questions God (“If I Were a Rich Man”), is reprised by Lyric’s general director, Leon Natker. He does not play the role as a caricature of the poor man with five daughters and a nagging wife, Golde (Fran Hartshorn). His eldest daughters, Zeitel, Hodel and Chava, buck “Tra- dition” (set up beautifully by Tevye and the citizens’ musical number) by picking their own mates. Veterans Eileen Bowman, Megan Weston and Raechele [sic] Hans, who is new to a lead- ing role with this company, af-

see Fiddler, page 28

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