For these Irish men, size matters
Often the things that we laugh about are really not so funny. One has only to attend "The Irish Curse" at TheatreWorks in New Milford to see that this is the case. Written by Martin Casella and directed by Robin Frome, what seems like a silly premise and an adult comedy, subtly delves deeper into the psyche of Irish men who have extremely small private parts. That's the Irish curse of the title. Before you know it, the characters that we thought were shallow turn out to be seriously troubled. That's because the very thing that makes them men makes them insecure, depressed and suicidal.
That's why Father Kevin Shaunessy, played by Glenn R. Couture with a balance of humor and sensitivity, leads a group therapy session for men plagued with this problem. Using language that would make a priest blush, Stephen Fitzgerald is a broadly built gay man. Played by Michael Wright with a commanding stance, but hurt in his eyes, Stephen is lonely and longing for love. James Hipp takes on the role of Rick Baldwin, a young romantic who is worried about his upcoming wedding night. Charles Roth as Keiran Reilly, the newcomer to the group, has the voice of authenticity and a performance to go with it. One of the most touching characters in this play is Joseph Flaherty, whose wife left him because of his small male appendage. He has been psychologically crippled ever since. Jonathan Ross plays this role so naturally and with such ease that it's easy to forget that he's acting.
The cast is quite good and the play, which is so funny that you don't expect the sucker punch to the head, is also quite good. The ending is a bit too neatly tied up, but this play does far more for men than what Eve Ensler's "Vagina Monolgues" did for women. Casella uses humor to dig deep enough to reveal serious male issues that have too long been concealed, while Ensler used "hit-them-over-the-head" anger about women's issues already well-documented. While both plays provide an important platform for gender issues, Casella's play stays with you after the curtain closes and mulls around in the mind until a new clarity evolves.
Robin Frome directs this show with brutal honesty and the creative team punctuates all the right places to create a most memorable 90 minutes. The production plays through March 24 and is recommended for mature audiences only.