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Adagio Teas
   Features  >  NY Theater Reviews

 
ON BLUEBERRY HILL
at 59E59 Theaters

THE ODDEST COUPLE
By SANDY MACDONALD

  Niall Buggy/ Ph: Patrick Redmond

On the micro level, playwright Sebastian Barry writes exquisitely, capturing telling details with an Irish poet’s incantatory allure. Macro-wise, his latest, a two-hander, is just plain ludicrous. We’re expected to believe that a pair of murderers with familial ties – each killed a close relative of the other – could not only peacefully cohabit for decades in a cramped prison cell but gradually come to hold each other dear. It’s all a bit too tidy.

David Ganly (serviceable) plays a former seminarian who pushed his classmate/lover off a cliff on a whim – you know, like you do. (Something “gripped me,” he recalls: “a sudden capricious wickedness, a piece of wretched devilment”). The victim’s father (Abbey Theatre mainstay Niall Buggy) retaliates cold-bloodedly. We never see the warden who, as a sick lark, tosses the two men together, but he’s about as believable as the duo that we do get to witness gradually growing close, via alternating monologues.

The one saving grace of this overly schematic exercise is the phenomenal Buggy, who can hold the house rapt just by tamping his voice to a mesmerizing whisper. Though Buggy’s return to New York (after an eight-year absence) is an occasion to celebrate, this tricked-out vehicle leaves him little room to maneuver.

 


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