The Irish Curse, a new play by Martin Casella is thrice blessed. It is truly original, truly hysterical and truly touching. It is one of the best plays of the year. You will be unexpectedly enthralled by these five Irish men who meet weekly in the basement of Saint Sebastian’s with Father (part time actor) Kevin Shaunessy – Scott Jaeck as mediator, to support each other by sharing their anger, frustrations, loneliness and discomfort – sharing the intimate details of their living with the Irish curse – which is – to be blunt about it – a lack of penile endowment. Talk about tiny willies is sure to become the hottest ticket in town.
So the potato famine is not the only thing that the Irish seemed to have been cursed with and these five fully developed (except for that one minor detail) and genuine as opposed to gimmicky characters speak honestly and freely and from the heart about what it means to be stricken where it hurts men the most. Between the legs. Being inadequate. Lacking the desired inches to sexually satisfy their mates. It’s heartbreaking and hilarious at the same time.
The weekly regulars include a shy, genteel lawyer from Savannah (Joseph Flaherty – Dan Butler) whose wife has left him, a gorgeous, cynical gay cop (Stephen Fitzgerald – Austin Peck) who has decided anonymous sex is the answer and a young married guy (Rick Baldwin – Brian Leahy) who stuffs a sock in his jock, loving the appreciative looks of the babes.
Into this group arrives Kieran Reilly (Roderick Hill) – a confused young roofer from Dublin, about to be married who speaks with the Irish lilt still – acting a sort of Devil’s Advocate – asking his many questions of the group with a control and grace that eventually shatters.
The cast is perfect. And they are perfectly directed with a sensitive and comic touch by Matt Lenz who has taken time with each of his actors to coach them into their finely detailed and rich performances. Each one has a riveting back story and at times you could hear a pin drop in the Soho Playhouse while at other times the audience erupted with spontaneous laughter and applause – so well crafted is the script. It seems that we are watching real people on stage not actors portraying characters as we look forward to their next meeting.
Father Shaunessy wonders if drink causes the curse or if the curse causes one to drink. Whatever the answer is, The Irish Curse is cause to celebrate! So don’t get caught with the short end of the stick, get your tickets immediately to see this provocative gem of a show that has no shortcomings whatsoever.
www.theirishcurse.com Photo: Carol Rosegg