Petaluma, California’s favorite community playhouse, the Cinnabar Theater, has just finished an effortless run of Frank and Malachy McCourt’s two man telling of their lives in their native Ireland and their subsequent emigration to the grand ol’ U.S of A.
This play was written before either of the brothers had published a novel and is a vivid, fast paced depiction of life in the land of the blarney stone around the mid-50’s 20th century. Coming from a stern Catholic upbringing complete with a bent over grandmother dispensing wisdom and warnings as loosely as the cigarette dangling perpetually from her mouth, to the trials and tribulations of dating, or attempting to date, the local girls, ‘A Couple of Blaguards’ distills music, masterful storytelling, touching humor interspersed with family loss and personal revivals into a delicious concoction of something hearty and warm and good for the soul.
Actors Tim Kniffin and Steven Abbott play not only the brothers themselves, but all of the supporting cast as well, as they take turns as storyteller and whichever character may be furthering the tale. Mr. Kniffin and Mr. Abbott expertly provide all of the action in this whirlwind, laugh out loud romp through “blaguardly” innocence into eventual manhood and a new home in the States.
In fact, these two fine and spirited actors sang and danced and switched between characters at such a rapid fire pace, though there were moments of near breathlessness, nary a beat was missed. Even in the breathlessness, the characters were always alive, always convincing. Always where they needed to be.
Full of honest to goodness knee slapping moments and quick jabs to the heart that would bring a tear if not for the twinkle in Mr. Abbott’s eye or the joke on Kniffin’s tongue, the Cinnabar Theater has produced another fine piece of work with ‘Blaguards.’
Now in their 40th season, the Cinnabar is continuing to provide a local home for theater arts, music and the perpetuation of a diverse cultural spectrum. Here’s to another 40 years.