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REVIEW: Outside Mullingar

By Gary Wien

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- There's an entire world outside Mullingar, but not to Anthony Reilly and Rosemary Muldoon. The two have known each other all of their lives, growing up on neighboring farms. As the play begins, we see their worlds becoming even smaller.

Outside Mullingar is a celebrated work by John Patrick Shanley (author of the Pulitzer Prize winning drama Doubt) that is coming up on its final two weekends at George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick. The play takes place in the Midlands of Ireland and is an excellent choice to open George Street's season. Originally run on Broadway in 2014, the play was nominated for the 2014 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Broadway Play received a 2014 Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Play as well.

Our story begins following the funeral of Rosemary's father. Both families are at a point in which their farms will be handed down to the next of kin. Rosemary is assured of hers, but Anthony's father is petrified of passing the farm on to his son. He's always known there was always something strange about his boy and worries that the family farm and its legacy will end with him. Instead, he's hatched out a plan to sell the farm to his brother's son in America.

"He was born to come home," the father explained to Rosemary's mother, pointing out that Anthony has always taken after his mother's side of the family — he's a Kelly not a true Reilly — and the Kelly's have quite a few quirks indeed.

Shanley uses the post-funeral gathering as an excellent source of humor and a great opening for the back-story behind the two families. Most importantly, we learn why a tiny patch of land between the road and the Reilly farm belongs to the Muldoon's… and why the Muldoon's will never sell.

Anthony's father knows that neither he nor Rosemary's mother has much time left. "When the husband passes, the wife follows," he says. "You'll be dead in half a year!"

Those words turn out to be prophetic and soon Anthony and Rosemary are all that's left.

Outside Mullingar is a play about generations, legacies, and hopes and dreams; it's an unusual love story about one person madly in love with another who doesn't believe is deserving of such feelings. There are twists and turns and rather absurd surprises, but most of all, it's a play that reminds us that time is precious and should never be wasted.

"It's a grand day for a walk and those days are few," noted Rosemary.

A wonderful cast and simply yet lush sets create this world for us; a bridge between reality and fantasy. John Bolger and Ellen McLaughlin are wonderful as Anthony and Rosemary, while David Schramm (Anthony's father) and Patricia Conolly (Rosemary's mother) are like characters inside a tiny Irish pub. They have far too much depth to be removed as soon as they are, but are given some of the best lines to work with.

Expertly directed by David Saint, Outside Mullingar is a tremendous comedy that's very heartwarming as well. It's a perfect lead-in to the holiday season. Now through November 2, 2014 at George Street Playhouse (9 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ) — catch it while you still can!

PHOTOS by T. Charles Erickson

For more by this author, click here

The Panto Company Presents "Beauty and the Beast" at The Newton Theatre
(NEWTON, NJ) -- When you think of a dying rose and a clock, candlestick andteapot who talk... you are thinking Beauty and the Beast. One of this season's spellbinding family shows from The Panto Company USA stars Dame Dotty Potty, Loopy Louie, Gaston, Belle and of course The Beast!  The company brings their show to The Newton Theatre on Sunday, March 3 at 3:00pm.
La Strada Ensemble Theater Presents "La Bella Familia" by Edwin Sanchez
(OCEAN GROVE, NJ) -- La Strada Ensemble Theater presents La Bella Familia by Edwin Sanchez from January 18-20.  The play deals with a Puerto Rican hit woman and the gentlest man in the world move next door to the neighbors from hell and everyone learns, the hard way, that family comes first.
Art House Productions Presents "The Passion Project" by Reid Farrington
(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- Art House Productions presents the unique theatrical experience that is Reid Farrington’s The Passion Project performed by Laura K. Nicoll.  Eight performances will take place from February 21st to March 3rd. The Passion Project is a 30 minute vibration between performance, film, and installation. Carl Th.Dreyer’s 1928 immortal masterpiece, “The Passion of Joan of Arc” is the main narrative along with the history behind the making of the film, a discussion with a Danish archivist, the story of making this project, as well as Joan’s own story –– her trial, torture, and execution. The Passion Project explodes the film into the three dimensions; placing the audience inside the film, sitting next to Joan, subjecting them to the relentless rhythm of 35 mm film projection.
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East Lynne Theater, the Henry Sawyer Inn, and Twin Gable's Inn present Murder Mystery Weekends
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Event calendar
Thursday, Jan 17, 2019


Open Mic Night! @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 7:30pm


"Apple Season" by E.M. Lewis @ New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch - 8:00pm


AMERICAN GIRL LIVE @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 7:00pm

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